British Universities Film & Video Council

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Every Monday Morning

Series

Series Name
Mining Review 17th Year

Issue

Issue No.
5
Date Released
Jan 1964
Length of issue (in feet)
890
Stories in this Issue:
  1. 1Every Monday Morning

Story

Story No. within this Issue
1 / 1
Summary
NoS synopsis: The work of the Coal Board’s Transfer Scheme in enabling Durham miners from nearly exhausted pits to find work in the North Staffs. area and resettle them.
NCB Commentary - McCall: Newcastle on Tyne ... the railway station ... under the clock at eight on a Monday morning - every Monday morning ... you’ll see a group of Durham miners collecting - and me, John Ross - and Jack Richardson - supervising their departure to take up jobs in other parts of the country.
Most of you know the reason for their going - that many pits in West Durham are nearing exhaustion - but you’ve got to be a miner to understand how drastic and final are the effects of a pit closure.
Heworth Colliery ran out of coal and died in June 1963. For 150 years it had supported a whole community - its ‘Coals from Newcastle’ had run down this track to the coast, to London, the world - since the very beginning of the industrial revolution; - Heworth’s a part of history! - certainly of mine, for it’s here I first went underground, as a lad. But it ran out of coal, and that was that!
There will be other pit closures in 1964. Some of the displaced men will be taken into the pits pushing out under the sea along our coast - but many will have to leave their native County Durham.
Slater: There is work for all who are willing to move elsewhere: In North Staffordshire, for example, we have enormous reserves of coal 40 seams of it more than 2 ft. thick ... over 40 tons of it beneath each square yard of the valley in which Stoke on Trent and the other towns of the Potteries lie. To increase production it must have 500 more men on the coalface this year; most of them will come from Durham, under the Miner’s Transfer Scheme ... So every Monday morning Jack Richardson takes over from John Ross and brings a party of them down to their new jobs in Stoke on Trent.
Though the family will follow later, it’s hard on a man to have to leave parents, friends and familiar places for ever ... no more Miner’s Galas beneath the walls of Durham Cathedral.
This up-rooting can’t be avoided; but its effects are softened by the Transfer Scheme. The Scheme pays their fares; pays for lodgings, until a house is available; it brings them to a job with a future.
There’s more to it than just putting a man on a train - each was a part of our calculations to increase output months ago - for us, their journey really is necessary.
We’ve been developing a coalface for them, so that there’ll be work to start on the day they arrive ... The terms of the transfer, and of conditions and rates of pay have been agreed in joint consultation with the Unions - of Durham as well as North Staffs. ... local councils persuaded to relet and build houses for them. All these activities are co-ordinated by Mr. Job, our Industrial Relations Officer.
Sync Scene: Mr. Job and Mr. Watmore in office. Mr. Richardson announces the arrival of the party.
Slater: ... as men arrive at Area Office.
In the old days they’d have been left to fend for themselves - today, thank heavens, we treat men differently.
Meeting in Board Room: Sync Scenes by Mr. Job.
Mr. Job’s Commentary: Now take a look at the area, and it’s 13 pits. Hem Heath a 10 million pound development. Wolstanton a modern concentration of 3 pits. And Florence, and the rest of them, all lying in the valley in the midst of the other industries and life of the six towns of the potteries. No isolated mining villages - you’re ‘in the town’ with the pot makers and the rest of them. Arnold Bennett said of it - "out of the partnership of white clay, and the black coal to fire it, we produce pottery that serves and pleases the world well" - and though the old bottle kilns are no longer in use, pottery and coal are still the real business of the place.
You’ll get used to this town life - in time you’ll even learn where one of the six towns ends and the next beings ...
... and one day you’ll be shouting ‘Up the Vale’ - ‘Up the Potters’.
But at first you’ll be strangers ... Away from the family, living in digs, without any real contact with the place ... You’ll be bored - and wonder why you ever came here. Difficulties about the new job may worry you - it’s not how we did in Durham! You may feel you have grievvences. For heavens sake come and see us if you do, for as likely as not it’s due to your misunderstanding of some local custom of ours. Anyway, don’t bottle it up; come and sort it out with us.
But lets face it - the root of your troubles will be just that you’re living in digs, and are beginning to miss the wife and the kids ... you want to put your feet up in your own mantlepiece, not the landlady’s. Perhaps the wifes pestering you - where’s that house they promised you? Geordie Brown’s got his already. She says stand up for your rights lad. Please don’t be too impatient. Houses are coming to us from the Councils at the rate of about 40 a month and you can believe me I’m as anxious as you are that you get yours quickly, because I know that the moment we deliver your furniture and your family to your new doorstep, all at the Board’s expense, any of the problems that might have been unsettling you will quickly fade away ...
The worst is over. The roots you had to tear up in Durham you can now put down here ... Unless you do so, this whole Transfer Scheme fails. But with your family around you, I’m sure it won’t ... and your children will grow up familiar with the names - Norton - Hem Heath - Wolstanton and Florence - and with Chatterley Whitfield, where you’re now going - to sign on.
Slater’s voice: over return to Newcastle, and Weaver’s recruiting meeting.
And at five in the evening, on Monday 26th, miners formally start a new life in Stoke. 600 of them joined us last year - and we are in the market for another 500 from Newcastle, and Durham, this year.
We’ve got Bob Weaver up there most of the time, going round the pits and Miners clubs and the life with John Ross, explaining the terms we have to offer.
These people know how to face up to sudden emergencies, on the coalface - but this one has turned their lives upside down, involves wife and children. We aim to satisfy them they can find security again with us.
Womans voice to end.
Researcher Comments
Numbered 408 by the NCB.
Keywords
Domestic life; Mining; Social welfare
Written sources
British Film Institute Databases
Films on Coal Catalogue   1969, p.48
The British National Film Catalogue   Vol.2 1964, p.55
The National Archives COAL 32   /13 Scripts for Mining Review, 1960-1963
Credits:
Commentator
John Slater
Sponsor
National Coal Board
Production Co.
National Coal Board Film Unit

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