Film: 641

Industry + Work | 1910 | Silent | B/W

Synopsis:

Coal Mining around 1910. Probably Wigan.

Set in the Lancashire coalfields with intertitles. Miner says goodbye to his family on his doorstep of his miner's cottage. His wife holds their young daughter in her arms and the man kisses the child. The mother, girl and young boy follow the miner to their picket gate and picket fence. Wife waves him off and turns back to the house. "The pit head" - Pan across mine workings. two women push a coal wagon. "Locking the lamps" - Man uses machine to seal Miners' Davy safety laps. Men queue and collect lamps. They walk off one by one. "Miners descending" - two miners duck down and climb into small lift. It descends. "Working the coal face" - men use pickaxes to cut coal. man hammers pit prop in to strengthen the roof. As one man uses pickaxe, other man fills wagons with shovels of coal or stone. "The coal shaft: 4 & 9 tub cages" - coal wagon ascends lift shaft. Man pulls wagon out and boy pushes wagon away. Men unload six wagons from mine shaft. women push wagons. Man puts wagon onto revolving device which turns upside down to empty the coal. He pulls empty wagon off again. Close of woman mineworker's face, she has very bad teeth. "Scenes at the pit's mouth: hoisting the waste" - wagons of waste ascend hoist. Man on top of gantry wheels wagon away. "Belles of the (black) diamond mine" - two rows of female mineworkers line up. they all wear shawls or headscarves. Many of the women smile. "Female industry" - women push wagons. "Loading wooden props" - four women and a man load pit props into wagons. The five of them push the wagons towards the camera. "Sorting, screening and loading" - women sorting coal over a shaking conveyor belt. They sort small nuggets of coal. coal slides down chute. Woman uses pitchfork to sort coal as she stands on top of a railway wagon. Another woman moves coal around with her hands. Behind the women we see the words "Wigan coal & iron company". Woman pushes large lumps of coal around on conveyor with big pitchfork. "Back to daylight" - lift emerges and men get out. " Pay time" - men queue for and receive their pay. "Light after darkness" - little girl opens the picket gate outside their cottage and runs to greet her daddy. He puts her down and takes her by the hand through the gate. "A cosy fireside" (filmed outdoors) - husband, wife and little girl in their parlour. The maid puts shovels of coal on the smoking fire. Girl warms her hands on the fire, her mother hugs her and the father moves his chair nearer the fire and rests his foot on the mantelpiece


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