Film ID:
NEFA 22561

CRAGHEAD: A VILLAGE ON THE NORTHUMBERLAND AND DURHAM COALFIELD

1954

Visitor Tabs

Description

Amateur 1950s documentary about Craghead in County Durham by the Headmaster and Assistant Master of Bloemfontein School, Craghead, Stanley, George Wheldon and Carol Reed. The film was as an educational aid in the classroom with £20 funding from the Miners Welfare Trust with sections on industry, work, school and leisure in the town. Footage includes workers at Craghead Colliery with coal transportion to Dunston Staiths, Gateshead, and women workers at the local Webwear factory.

Concessionary coal is dumped outside a coalhouse in Craghead. The household shovel the coal into a coal, helped by their young sons.

Title: Craghead: A Village on the Northumberland & Durham Coalfield

Travelling shot approaching the village of Craghead from the Chester-le-Street road.  Panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, a slagheap, the Craghead terraces and the schoolyard. The colliery sits beside the railway tracks, black smoke belching from the colliery chimney.

Title: The Work of the Village

Miners arrive for a shift at the Craghead colliery. Inside the lamp cabin, the ritual testing of the safety lamps takes place. The miners head out to the pithead. A man operates the winding control for the mine cage lift. Close-ups of the winding engine and the depth indicator showing seams with fine adjustments made on the drum. The miners enter the cage. The gate is closed and the cage drops to the coal seam. The winding engine is in motion. The cage is opened and a shift of miners race out.

[Dark footage]

Some of the miners enjoy a wash in the pit head baths.

Coal tubs at the pit head enter the cage. The pulley wheels are in motion at the pit head. The coal tubs are raised in order to get above the screens. Miners at the conveyor screen sort out the stone.

Shale drops into the coal trucks of rail stock at the pithead. Full coal trucks leave the yard. The journey of the coal up the inclines begins, full wagons descending under their own mass and pulling up the empties. Panoramic view of the colliery, pithead and chimney.

General view of the timber stock at the pit head.

A consultation is underway in the Manager’s office with Mr Scott and the all-male committee planning future working.

Workers at the colliery collect their wages at the colliery Pay Office.

A simple animation illustrates the inclines from Craghead to Grange Villa, a plateau where the steam engine had to be used to take the full wagons to the top of the second incline which led to Stella Gill marshalling yard.

Empty rail trucks are coming up and the full trucks are travelling down the incline. General view of sidings at Stella Gill at South Pelaw Junction. Steam engine and loaded wagons are heading to Dunstan Staithes.

A worker smiles at camera, standing next to a Dunstan Staithes B.R. life ring. General views of the working staithes and river, the shunting and opening of the wagon doors. Coal is transported on conveyors, loading the ship, the Hudson Cape. Two men walk back from the ship onto the staithes. The ship leaves the Tyne bound for London Power Station. Other uses for the coal are shown, Norwood Gas works and opposite, The Huwood Mining Machinery Company factory in Team Valley, Gateshead. The double decker bus that passes was a new model fitted with heaters to keep passengers warm.

Title: The People

Some local Craghead women shake a proggy mat, too heavy for just the one person.

Two young men head to the South Moor golf course with their equipment. The two enjoy a few holes at the golf course, watched by an older man in suit and flat cap.

Next, there’s a look at a cricket match in progress.

On sports day, the Craghead Colliery Band lead the local schoolchildren to the sports field. Mr. Barrass, a teaching assistant ducks out of shot. The children parade through the village past camera. Also with the parade are Mr. Palmer, woodwork teacher of Bloemfontain, and Mr Scott, the Craghead Colliery manager.

Children compete in sports, including long jump, sprint races, and obstacle races. General view of the sports field with Stanley Wood in the background and a King’s Café ice cream van at the event. More competitions take place: long jump and sack race. Prizes like books are awarded by Miss Rutter and Mr Reed. Races for older children such as the hurdles and the high jump take place. Mr Palmer hands out the prizes of shields and cups. The adults then enjoy competing in sprint races and the egg and spoon.

At St Thomas’s Church, Craghead, Sunday school is over and the children of different ages and teachers start to emerge in dribs and drabs, pausing to look at the camera. Amongst the children is a very young Angela Bruce (born in Leeds and adopted into a Craghead family, later to become a well-known actor on stage and screen).

A Pritex Knitwear truck back into the WebWear factory unloading bay. Men unload packages and boxes. Inside the factory, women lay out lengths of cloth. Women workers begin to cut out patterns and machine sew garments together, attach buttons, iron, and fold and box Pritex Knitwear garments ready for sale. Men then prepare orders to distribute nationally and record orders in a ledger. General view of the production line manufacture of ladies knitwear follows. Staff use the canteen during their break. A final shot of the women at work in the factory closes the documentary.

[Craghead Colliery, also known as Holmside Colliery, opened in 1839. The settlement and mining community at Craghead, in County Durham grew in association with the colliery. At its peak, in 1930 there were 2,137 people employed at Craghead Colliery (1,652 working below ground and 485 on the surface).Craghead Colliery closed on the 11th April 1969, with the loss of 180 jobs at a time when the male unemployment rate in the Stanley area was already 7.5%.]