British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Denby Washery


Series Name
Mining Review 1st Year


Issue No.
Date Released
Dec 1947
Length of issue (in feet)
Stories in this Issue:
  1. 1The Forrest of Dean
  2. 2Shepherds from the mine
  3. 3Denby Washery


Story No. within this Issue
3 / 3
BFI Summary - The coal washeries at Denbigh.
COI Commentary - To the Denby Hall Washery in Nottinghamshire, come trucks from three local collieries. Eventually, when drifts have been dug, the coal will arrive underground. But for the present, tipplers are being used.
It’s a modern plant employing a new process of coal cleaning.
The idea’s simple enough.
A heavy liquid is prepared of barium sulphate, clay and water. Coal will just float on the surface ... but shale sinks to the bottom ... and of course, middlings go half way.
To avoid overloading the plant, big shale is first picked out by hand ...the remaining coal is crushed to a maximum size of seven inches ... and here powerful electric magnets remove any bits of iron.
The coal is now ready to be cleaned ... and after being screened into various sizes it’s passed into large tanks containing the heavy liquid ... clean coal floats and falls into elevator buckets. It’s hoisted out and sent along to the slag heap by conveyor.
But what of the middlings? Well, they’re taken out by an upward current of water into another compartment. Then it’s broken up and treated again until it’s either coal or shale.
All the products are then water-sprayed to remove the barium sulphate. It’s too valuable to lose, because it can be used again.
Here the smallest clean coal is being separated from the shale by a system of water currents.
The washing plant itself handles over 300 tons of coal an hour ... for 15 hours a day. Yet it’s efficiently run by as few as seven men per shift.
Their main jobs are to watch the machinery and take frequent samples of the heavy liquid ... and by weighing check the density is correct.
There’s no waste at Denby, Even the liquid is cleaned to remove particles of coal ... and then in this plant is collected ... dried on the revolving drum, and scraped off to be used for boiler-fuel or coal bricks.
There’s nothing further to be done ... so the clean coal is screened to various sizes ... and taken by conveyor direct to the railway wagons which are waiting below ... and thence carried to all parts of the country.
This is science applied to coal mining in a big way ... speeding delivery ... reducing wastage ... and setting a new reputation for the industry. From coal-face to consumer in one ceaseless stream.
Wales; Denbighshire
Written sources
The National Archives INF 6   /389 Used for synopsis
British Film Institute Databases
Hogenkamp, A. P., unpublished DPhil thesis   pxii.
Production Co.
Crown Film Unit
Jocelyn Jackson
John Legard
John Taylor
Maurice Denham
Max Anderson
Ministry of Fuel and Power

This series is held by:

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)

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 238 times.