British Universities Film & Video Council

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London & Staffordshire - IRONwORK


Series Name
Mining Review 20th Year


Issue No.
Date Released
Nov 1966
Stories in this Issue:
  1. 1London & Staffordshire - IRONwORK
  3. 3Kent - SEA SKI


Story No. within this Issue
1 / 3
BFI synopsis: The cradle of the industrial revolution in the West Midlands looks forward to a new future in the reconstruction and new coal mines of the area.
NCB Commentary - Disappearing fast from London’s pavements, and unnoticed by the passing crowd, are many beautiful examples of Victorian industrial art. Once, these plates served a useful purpose, today they are collector’s items.
The wrought iron work of Kew is still a classic example of how iron construction sprang from the industrial revolution.
And here’s where it all started - the old bridge from which Ironbridge took its name. For it was in this corner of Shropshire that the movement started that was to change the whole face of Britain.
It was in these furnaces that coke was first successfully used to smelt iron - the joining together of coal and iron that was to be the foundation of Britain’s industrialisation. Today you can still see the foundries Abraham Darby worked. The first iron-framed rail wagon stands by where Brunel showed his backers just how to build railways. The local museum bridges the centuries between the industrial revolution and a Britain still in industrial evolution, where coal plays as great a part as ever.
As the traditional West Midlands mining areas are modernised a new area is being formed out of the old - the South Midlands.
The rest of the old West Midlands - North and South Staffordshire, Cannock and Shropshire will make another new Area - Staffordshire.
Electricity generation will of course be one of Coal’s major customers. Some of the coal for the new Iroonbridge B power station will come from just up the road - from Madeley Wood. And when this 100 year old colliery closes, as it soon must, and the houses and factories of Dawley New Town begin to take over, the miners will be able to move a few miles away to Granville Colliery outside Oakengates.
Here new grows naturally out of the old. Nothing is lost.
Headquarters for the new Staffordshire Area is another example of new and old side by side.
The new building is at Berry Hill, in the shadow of the Five Towns.
The history of the old Industrial Revolution is perhaps better preserved here than anywhere in Britain ... in houses, and streets, in the mingling of industries, in Chapels, and potteries, and in the names on the corners.
Today the cleaning up of the Black Country has 20th Century symbols.. .Wolstanton Colliery feeds coal straight across by conveyor into a steelworks.
Hem Heath is not just for show either. It is one of the collieries which will ensure the future of coalmining in the Black Country. A little further South-East, where the Cannock coalfield begins, is the newest example of all ... Lea Hall Colliery, where the coal comes straight up out of the ground into a power station. It’s been working so well that they are now adding a second power station. Lea Hall may soon be the first two million ton a year pit in Britain.
The old ... the new. Black country ... green country.
The new Staffordshire Area has the best of both.
Written sources
British Film Institute Databases   Used for synopsis
The National Archives COAL 32   /13 Scripts for Mining Review, 1960-1963
National Coal Board
Production Co.
National Coal Board Film Unit

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