British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access



Series Name
Mining Review 12th Year


Issue No.
Date Released
Jan 1959
Stories in this Issue:
  3. 3Denaby United v. Oldham Athletic


Story No. within this Issue
2 / 4
BFI synopsis: the delivery of coal in paper sacks in Penzance.
NCB Commentary - In West Cornwall today this delivery van is bringing a new service to people who live surrounded by some of England’s best loved scenery.
The van carries coal, but not in the usual clumsy hundredweight sacks. No, these neat paper packages each hold 56 pounds, an easy armful for the driver, and a welcome arrival at many homes around the Cornish coastline.
The idea of distributing coal this tidy way, has been originated by a merchant in Penzance. Birth place of scientist Humphrey Davy, no mean name in the mining industry.
Arriving by sea or rail, house coal is stock-piled in the Penzance merchant’s yard. A grab loads it from stock to a hopper above the packaging plant.
Inside the plant, measured quanitites of graded coal are fed into paper sacks. The sacks are weighed as they are filled.
No. 2 man on the conveyor line folds over the top of the bag and passes it to a third operator, who sews up the opening and, at the same time, incorporates a label recording the weight, type of coal, and price.
The customer knows exactly how much of what is being delivered.
Down the belt roll the sacks, to be stored according to grade.
The coal merchant’s delivery vans can pick up their supplies straight from the end of the conveyor line.
Today, van driver Ted Warwick covers a lot of ground with this expanding service. To flat dwellers, the idea of taking in a delivery of cleanly packed coal as and when it’s required, is ideal. Mrs. Sidgman here, can forget about storage problems, and since there’s no dirt, the coal can just stand in the kitchen.
House holders too, welcome the new service. Ted Warwick’s visits are becoming just as routine, and just as clean as the milkman’s daily call, says Mrs. Radbourne.
To old age pensioners, the cleanliness of the new service is a godsend, not to mention the convenience. 76 year old ex-fisherman, Curly Williams is very much in favour.
The enterprise of this west country coal merchant has triggered off a new way of marketing coal, which is spreading rapidly throughout Britain.
The clean delivery of packaged fuel, is a first class selling point for the coal industry in today’s competitive marketing conditions. Packaged solid fuel, with all its advantages, is still the cheapest form of space heating available to us in this country today.
Researcher Comments
Commentary recorded 8th December 1958.
Business and commerce; Mining; Fuels
Cornwall; England; Penzance
Written sources
British Film Institute Databases   Used for synopsis
Film User   Vol.13 No.150 April 1959, p193.
The National Archives COAL 32   /12 Scripts for Mining Review, 1956-1960
Production Co.
Documentary Technicians Alliance
National Coal Board

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