British Universities Film & Video Council

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National Coal Board

Profile

Born
1946
Dates
1947-1983
Role
Sponsor
Newsreels / Cinemagazines
Mining Review; Review
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Career

The National Coal Board was formed by Act of Parliament in 1947, under Atlee’s government. As part of the nationalization programme undertaken by the Labour administration, this body brought together all of the existing private coal mines, manufacturers of coke and smokeless fuels, and distributers of heating equipment under public control.

The NCB had its headquarters in London, with area heads in command of several areas mapping the British Isles. Under the chairmanship of Lord Hyndley, the NCB took control of the country’s 1,647 mines, more than a million acres of land, about 100,000 dwellings, and transportation equipment and other facilities formerly in the hands of 850 private coal companies. Coal owners were paid £164,600,000 in compensation.

The NCB set out to increase coal production while at the same time reducing the miners’ workweek to five days, improving wages and working conditions, and extending fringe benefits. Part of this drive to modernise the industry and to unite the miners under one national banner was the NCB’s advocacy of film, both as a training medium and as a means of promotion. To this end, the NCB sponsored (from 1st Year Issue 7), and later produced through the NCB Film Unit [qv], the cinemagazine, Mining Review (later Review).

Although the efforts of the NCB were hailed by the National Union of Mineworkers, the NCB in the 1980s, during the administration of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, reversed past policy and tried to streamline operations by closing unprofitable pits and laying off mineworkers. By the late 20th century both its workforce and its coal mines had been considerably reduced in number. The NCB was officially dissolved by Act of Parliament in 1994.

Sources

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9054967; Accessed 9/2/2006.

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