Film ID: NEFA 20975 Video of NEFA 20975 Dawndon Colliery DAWDON COLLIERY 1967 Visitor TabsDescription A film produced by Tyne Tees Television and broadcast on 28 November 1967 of Dawdon Colliery to the south of Seaham in County Durham. The film opens with a view of the colliery during the early morning shift change. Men prepare for their working day underground and the film shows them and their machinery hard at work at the pit face. The film ends with both the coal and miners coming up to the surface; the coal being taken away by train or the men heading home. The film opens with a view of Dawdon pit on a cold misty day. Cars can be seen parked in the distance. Railway sidings show NCB wagons waiting to move out. General views of other colliery buildings. The film cuts to show miners getting ready for a change of shift in the colliery changing rooms. They fill up water bottles from taps over a sink. A miner 'clocks on' to start his shift. Another miner collects the battery pack for his lamp. Other miners have a cigarette before going down to the pit face. A man speaks on an intercom system. Miners are checked for safety before they enter the cages and go down the pit shaft. A bag of cement [?] is broken open with a shovel. Dust is brushed off roof support beams. A close up follows of a First Aid Station sign. The sign acts as a door behind which first aid materials are stored. A miner checks both his lamps, the battery powered one on his helmet and his standard spirit fuelled miners lamp. This is followed by a view of coal mining machinery in action at the coal face. Coal[?] or other debris is taken away along a conveyor belt. Workers secure part of the roof with metal supports. More shots follow of coal cutting equipment in action. An operator moves a mobile conveyor belt, other miners dig at coal. A travelling shot goes along the mine's tunneling. Two other miners work on a machine. There's a view of pit props, followed by a coal cutting machine in full operation. Hydraulic roof props are moved to a new position. More shots follow of coal cutting machines in operation, and conveyor belts on which coal is loaded. A worker is seen at a control desk for the conveyor belt [?]. Shots follow of lift machinery in operation. Coal spills down a chute onto a conveyor. Another conveyor shakes the contents as it moves along, possibly to sieve out smaller pieces. An exterior low angle shot shows the covered housing of a conveyor belt. Coal emerges like a waterfall from a square hole in the side of a building, onto a pile of coal outside. A mechanical shovel loads coal onto a lorry. More coal is loaded into railway wagons from a hopper. A train of full wagons makes its way from the colliery. To end the film, a general view of the car park shows a worker making his way towards his car to go home. Context Digging the black diamonds at Dawdon Colliery Grit, grime and graft fathoms beneath the North Sea for coal miners at Dawdon Colliery. This candid, observational Tyne Tees TV news feature powerfully communicates the raw experience of a pitman’s shift at Dawdon Colliery in 1967 – the heat, dirt, cramped tunnels and deafening noise of coal-cutting machines and conveyors. Without commentary, this film recalls a vanished era of courage and camaraderie for the miners working in hellish conditions two miles out and 1,000 feet below the North Sea, off the Durham coastline. The use of lighter portable synch-sound cameras and fast film stock transformed the style of news journalism at Tyne Tees Television in the 1960s. A smaller crew could capture “how things really happen” with direct sound recorded during filming, the structure later emerging from editing. Influenced by the form of documentary approach labelled “direct cinema”, pioneered by cameramen at the Canadian National Film Board (NFB) from 1958, and American filmmakers such as Albert and David Maysles working for Drew Associates, this short film imparts an authenticity to the miners’ experience missing, for instance, from work such as the NCB Film Unit’s Mining Review. Work at Dawdon colliery ended in 1991.