Film ID:
NEFA 8844



Visitor Tabs


This is an edition of the About Britain series produced by Tyne Tees Television and first broadcast on 9 April 1974. In the old lead mines of Weardale, Durham miners are now looking for fluorspar that is used in the steel and aluminium industries. The film features footage of mining underground at Blackdene Mine and of the fluorspar grotto model of a mine created by a miner.

The documentary opens with a general view of the moors and valleys of Weardale.  The river Wear runs through the valley. General view of picturesque ruins of old lead mines.

Shot of miner’s cottage.

General view of tractor in field.

General view of terraced cottages. A woman unpegs washing from the outside line.

Miners climb onto small scale railway with tubs heading into the entrance of the mine tunnel.

Various shots traveling through the underground tunnels, water on the floor. The miners trudge through several feet of water along tunnels to arrive at their work.

Various shots of miners working, emptying tubs and using a loader. The commentary describes the mining process.

The scene changes to the Weardale landscape blanketed in snow in winter. A farmer feeds sheep. In voice over, he describes how his relatives and friends worked down the mines. He explains about the sheep breed needed to adapt to fields above lead mines.

General view of the landscape above the mine shafts, with a road sign for Lanehead and Allston.

Shot of entrance to Blackdene Mine.  The commentary describes the method of mining at Blackdene.

Various shots of the tubs on rail track loaded with rock, and tipped by the miners.

Close-up of fluorite rock crystals.

Shot tilts down from top to base of a fluorspar grotto model of a mine created by a miner. The grotto stands in the home of Doreen Egglestone near Blackdene.

Interview with Doreen Egglestone. She talks about the visitors at her farm who come to see the grotto, made by her grandfather.

General view of St John’s Chapel village.

General view of the cement works on Weardale, possible the Blue Circle Cement works at Eastgate.

General view of caravan sites for tourists.

Groups of teenagers walk down a village road.

General view of a village in Weardale, with heavy trucks on the road.

Title: End of Part One

Title: Part Two

General view of the engine house of an old mine.

A horse pulls tubs of fluorspar from the Blackdene Mine tunnel – the last summer for this old mining method.

Shots of miners working above and below ground at the mine.

Interview to camera with a miner who describes traditional mining of past.

General view of Killhope under snow. The entrance to mine is bricked up.  Various mine head works are pictured, with commentary describing their role in lead mining.

Various shots of the mining work above ground, separating lead from spar.

A dumper truck shifts fluorspar at Blackdene Mine.

The commentary describes how the old mines are being re-opened now, in the 1970s.

Shot of tractor off-loading hay for cows in snow. The commentary states that agriculture is being eclipsed by jobs in mining, which pay better.

A man riding with tubs emerges from a mine tunnel.

A welder works on a new mine entrance.

General view of development work at the surface of a mine.  Interview with Malcolm Brown.

Shot of mine entrance.

General shot of miners working underground.

Malcolm Brown in voice over and to camera, describes the camaraderie of miners.  General view of miners working underground.


Narrator: Pat Doody

Research & Script: Bob Farnworth

Camera: Fred Thomas; Dave Dixon

Sound: Ray Hole; John Overton

Film Editor: Bill Oxenham

Executive Producer: Leslie Barrett

Director: Jeremy Lack

Tyne Tees Television 1974