Film: 7706

Newsreels + Film Magazines | 1940 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

The use of theodology(?) to find coal seams; the newly nationalised gas board; electrical and mechanical training for miners; and greyhound racing.

Titles as we ascend a mine shaft to daylight. Intertitle: 'West Midlands, What's the Drill'. Two male backpackers or ramblers pause on a stone bridge in a bleak landscape. A group of young men and women look at a ordnance survey map. Reaction shot of another man. A spinning pit-head wheel. A lift cage packed with miners begins to descend. A map of coalfields near Birmingham, as the commentary talks of the importance of theodological surveys for finding coal seams. A theodologist with a pipe, scrutinising a map.

A boring rig, set up near Brimingham. Three men attend to the drill. One turns a lever. Another applies a clamp to the drill. They test it. Montage of the workmen and machine parts. Overview as tubes are pushed down into the ground. Turning drill. Workmen stop the drill. Montage of the men lifting the drill out of the hole. A section of earth is removed from the coring bit which has dug it up. The earth sample (from over a mile down) is placed in a wooden box. Two men carry the box away.

Geologists look at the sample. One cracks open a piece of the sample and looks at it with a magnifying glass. Pan shot. The two geologists again. Sign: National Coal Board, Coal Survey Laboratory. A lab technician applies an electric current to the sample (which has now been sent here). The technician looking serious. The sample being tested. A dial turns and gives a reading. The technician places the sample in a special container for another test.

The drill back at the boring rig. The boring rig itself. Map showing the Birmingham area coalfields and site of the bore hole. A map maker at work. Map of the Birmingham area showing more extensive coalfields.

Underground, a miner works a conveyor belt laden with coal. Closer.
Intertitle: 'Great Britain, Our Mr.Therm'. On May 1, 'Mrs.Brown of Wandsworth' prepares the Sunday roast. She lights the gas oven, about to use her first cubic foot of nationalised gas. Closer, as the gas is lit.

A gasworks. A huge gas container or gas ring, a cylinder inside a metal frame. Piping at a gasworks. A 'small' gasworks. A furnace comes to life, flames pouring from holes. Miles of pipework, smoke. Papers with different gas board letter heads. Furnace holes are uncovered. A furnace worker operates the coke device. And coke falls into the furnace. Sparks and flames from the furnace. A worker operates the coke supply. A wagon of glowing coals. A worker lights a cigarette. The gas operating machine operates automatically (and therefore safely). Levers operating on their own. Supervisors monitor the system. Dials give readings. A colliery-pit head, smoke, drab buildings.

'Mrs. Brown' takes her roast dinner out of the oven. Workers leave a gasworks, which the commentary informs us, is now nationalized.

Intertitle: 'Sheffield, Training Centre'. A miner kneels next to a box linking electric wires, underground. His supervisor asks what he is up to. The miner replies that he is helping the electrician. The supervisor asks if the miner has put in to go to the mechanisation training centre at Sheffield. The miner nods.

The miner, now in his own clothes, walks along a busy, central Sheffield street. He enters the National Coal Board Mechanisation Training Centre enquiries. The miner ('Gordon') is taught in a workshop how to handle tools properly. Closer, as he files metal. He cuts metal. Montage of Gordon learning how to use machine tools. An electric radio. A signalling apparatus which Gordon learns to use. Montage of Gordon busy with wires and screwdrivers, and heavier machinery. An instructor demonstrates something mecanical to his class, Gordon among them, who take notes. Closer, on Gordon. The instructor holds up an object in front of his class.

Social club events, written on a blackboard. Montage of posters for boxing, snooker and other events. Gordon and other students work on a big piece of machinery, an arc wall cutter. The instructor inspects it when they have finished putting it together.

Back down the pit, Gordon's supervisor asks Gordon what he is doing now. Gordon, who is fiddling with wires, explains he is checking the electrics down here. The supervisor smiles benevolently. The supervisor leaves him to it.

Intertitle: 'Yorkshire, Hare and Hounds'. While a coalman passes by, 'Frank' comes out of his house with his greyhound to join his friend, 'Bernard', with his greyhound. They walk along the street. At Uplane Stadium, dog owners walk their hounds onto the track, pass bookies and punters. Punters press for a glimpse. A bookie chalks up the odds. Faces in the crowd (all men). Another bookie. A trainer ties his grey hound's number on. Crowd by the track. Commentators up in their box. Owners place their greyhounds in their starting boxes. Punters watch with their betting strips. Greyhounds in their boxes. A match official opens the box gate. The greyhounds rush out after the 'rabbit'. The hounds are past excited spectators. The hounds go round the far side of the track. They pass us in a blur. The 'rabbit' hurries. The hounds round a bend. They get closer. Spectators watch with interest. The hounds cross the finishing line. The commentator announces the winner. A bookie chalks up the victor's number. Frank's dog has won, he pats it. Closer. A bookie counts his earnings. Two policemen watch the proceedings. Frank and his friend walk with their dogs back to the mining town, grim houses or slums in the distance, slag piles looming over everything.


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