British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Mining Review 1st Year

1947 - 1972
Cinemagazine - Industrial
The original idea for Mining Review came from the Factory Newsreel proposed by the Labour Government, which was intended to be shown in cinemas in industrial areas, to increase morale and keep workers informed of new manufacturing and industrial developments, (as Worker and Warfront had done during the second world war). Although this proposal came to nothing, the National Coal Board was persuaded by the idea, and upon taking control of the United Kingdom coal industry in 1947, sponsored the series. The first six issues were made by Crown in the same year released monthly to cinemas around Britain. Following this, the next 162 issues were made by the production company DATA from 1948 to 1961, and numbered in years, (ie. 1st Year Number 5) in the manner of the British version of The March of Time. From 15th Year Number 1, September 1961, the National Coal Board’s own Film Unit produced the series until its demise in 1983.

All issues of Mining Review were distributed to cinemas on 35mm (by National Screen Services until 1955, and after by DATA Distribution). They were also available from the NCB Film Library on 16mm for public and private showings, as were composite editions made up of several stories on the same theme, such as Mechanisation. Normal issues were made up of several topical items on production techniques, staff news, and general interest, but these issues were also interspersed with single-item issues, for example, on the making of the series itself (17th Year Number 8, 1964).

At the end of the 25th Year of production of Mining Review, the National Coal Board, due to retrenchment in the mining industry and the decline in cinema audiences, decided to limit its sponsorship of the cinemagazine to six issues per year, rather than twelve. To ease this change, issues were remodelled to a single story, and the cinemagazine was re-named, Review. Review began with 26th Year Number 1 in September 1972, with alternate issues offered to outside sponsors who had a public service message to present. These sponsors included, the Spastics Society, the Metropolitan Police and the Dairy Council. Review continued to be made available on 16mm and distributed on 35mm to cinemas all over the UK, including West End venues. The final issue of Review, 36th Year Number 5 was released in April 1983, just a year before the NCB Film Unit itself closed. It is likely that the series’ demise was due to financial cut-backs in the NCB as a whole.
The entire NCB film collection is now housed by the British Film Institute who have allowed the project access to their database records for the purposes of cataloguing. Other information has been taken from Film User and Kinematograph Weekly magazines, the North West Film Archive records, and ‘Coal Film Makers: an Appreciation’ by Henry Donaldson. Additional information for this record comes from Hogenkamp, A.P. ‘The British Documentary Movement and the 1945-1951 Labour Government’ Doctor of Philosophy Thesis (1991). Commentary scripts come from the National Archives records, in COAL.
Other Information
Please see REVIEW for the continued history of this series.

Films in this series can be obtained from:

Film Archive

British Film Institute (BFI)
For BFI National Archive enquiries: For commercial/footage reuse enquiries:
020 7255 1444
020 7580 7503
21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN
The BFI National Archive also preserves the original nitrate film copies of British Movietone News, British Paramount News, Empire News Bulletin, Gaumont British News, Gaumont Graphic, Gaumont Sound News and Universal News (the World War II years are covered by the Imperial War Museum).
Series held
View all series held by British Film Institute (BFI)

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