Film ID:
NEFA 12375

METHODISM AND THE MINER

1959

Visitor Tabs

Description

A documentary-drama produced by The Home Mission Department of the Methodist Church of Great Britain on the importance of faith, and in particular the Methodist faith, in the daily lives of miners. The film begins with footage of working life down the mine and then life for the miner at home. This is followed by two scripted sequences that look at the history of Methodism and why Methodism is important for today’s miners in comparison to Communism. The final section of the film shows Methodist minsters and preachers at work in local communities around County Durham and South Wales and includes footage from a Durham Miners Gala.

Title: The Home Mission Department of the Methodist Church of Great Britain presents.

Title: Methodism and the Miner.

Credit: Script by Rev. F. Howell Everson in collaboration with Rev. C. Leonard Tudor.

Credit: Commentary spoken by Stephen Jack.

Title: The Home Mission Department acknowledges with thanks the co-operation of the following in the production of this film.

Credit: The National Coal Board.
Credit: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Credit: The Methodist Publishing House.
Credit: The Kidwelly Male Voice Choir.
Credit: The J. Arthur Rank Organisation.
Credit: G.H.W. Productions Ltd.
Credit: Religious Films Ltd.

The film opens with a view of a coal mine with large chimney and winding wheel. A hand puts a sign in a shop window next to a display of coal that reads “Best Derby Bright 18/6 per ton”. A stone sign above a doorway reads “Seaham Colliery” and below it in glass “First Aid”. A miner sits in a chair in a works surgery while a nurse and doctor in white and wearing protective masks cleans his eyes with a solution. In another room a second miner has an x-ray taken of his leg while a third has an arm bandaged by the nurse seen previously.

Miners come out of a mine and walk down a set of metal stairs and across a courtyard. A winding wheel is shown on operation. A second group of men in dark overalls and carrying headlamps walk toward a mine entrance. Miners collect lamps from a lamp room and a miner checks it is in good order by blowing around the mesh. A queue of miners waits to go down the mine.

A cage full of miners descends down the mine shaft. The engine in the engine house lowers the cage at a regulated speed. A tram on rails comes to a stop and miners get out. A miner stops by a pit prop, hangs up his lamp and removes his jacket. He then crawls towards the pit face and begins hacking at the exposed coal with a pickaxe. More miners work to shovel the coal into tubs. Another miner tests the gallery roof to ensure no more pit props are required. Miners shovel more coal. A pit pony pulls a number of empty tubs along a passage and through a wooden door. Another miner uses a mechanical drill to bore into the coal. An explosive shot is carefully pushed into the hole. A group of miners sit against the wall as a lead is attached to the electric firing box. They all look away from the coal seam as the shot is detonated and coal pours down a chute onto a conveyor belt and then into the tubs. A miner uses pieces of wood to bring the tubs to a stop. Several miners manoeuvre two tubs at a time into a cage that carries the tubs to the surface.

A group of dirty miners run out of a brick building and across a courtyard. Three miners lead a number of pit ponies out of a mine shaft into a field. A shot of a tray of pies and mugs of tea are followed by shots of miners eating and chatting in a canteen. In the kitchen women are at work preparing various meals. They then serve ice cream sandwiches to a long queue. In the pithead baths men clean themselves. Two men shower and clean each other’s back.

At an opencast mine an older man shows two younger boys a seam of coal. A number of large cranes with large buckets scoop up loads of coal and either drop their contents into lorries or onto a coal heap. Bulldozers and levellers fill in a mine with topsoil and waste that is then shown as a field.

At a by-product plant chemists in a laboratory extract useful commodities. White-hot coke is pushed from a coking machine into waiting wagons. Coke moves along a conveyor and a miner picks off the clinker. The coke pours into waiting railway wagons.

In a mine yard a group of miners talk with two men, possibly Methodist preachers. Miners get on a bus which then pulls away. Washing hangs across a road as a car drives past. A group of women, some with children, stand at the rear of a street of houses chatting. A man shovels coal from the street in front of a house; a small child stands next to him. Another man walks up the pathway of a house with a small boy and walks into the house through the back door. Inside a large family are enjoying their tea and cake. A view of a woman holding a baby changes to show a group of young boys scrambling up a large slag heap where they are playing with a dog. The scene changes to a playground, and boys and girls play on the swings and roundabout. Three girls sitting on a bench eating ice creams. The scene ends with a sketch drawing of a child down a mine pulling a tub of coal.

The next scene is filmed in a studio. A young boy sits at a table doing his homework while his father reads a newspaper beside the fire. The boy tells his father about the history assignment he is working on that leads the father to show his son the book “When Wesley Came”. The father explains how 200 years ago people were cruel not only to animals but also to each other. It was John Wesley and his Methodists who helped change people’s lives through his preaching. He continues by saying how miners liked Methodism and that the faith was born in the coalfields.

The exterior of a building with a sign carved above it that reads “1926 Miners Welfare Institute”. Inside the building miners play games such as draughts and table tennis. This scene changes to a second filmed scene in a miners' welfare institute. Here a Communist tries to convince the father and the other men in the institute that faith and Methodism aren't important for today’s miner. The father replies by saying that Karl Marx has taught the miner to hate and to destroy the unions, where decency and kindness don’t matter. He continues by explaining that unions started in Methodist chapels in the Christian teachings of cooperation, toleration and comradeship. “The first trade unions were simply Methodist class meetings carrying religion into daily life and work”. By the end of the scene the father has convinced the Communist to give up the party line and come back to chapel.

A group of young boys in sporting kit run from a courtyard. Another group play netball (?) in a field. Younger boys perform group keep fit exercises while a group of girls in uniform march past. A Union Jack flag is flying from a pole. A group of children in bathing costumes swim at Dawdon Colliery pit pool. Groups of boys play cricket on a moorland pitch in sight of the coal pit. Another group play cricket a short distance from a new housing development. Older men play bowls on an outside green. A group of young boys and older men go into a miner’s welfare institute where inside they play a variety of games, such as table tennis, draughts, dominoes, darts, billiards and snooker, and boxing, all facilities provided by the institute.

A group of people walk into a chapel. As the organ begins to play, a full congregation stands. Coal and a miner’s lamp are laid out on the communion table. General view of a group of houses. A Methodist service takes place on a small hill. A male choir sings along to a piano accompaniment followed by other members of the congregation. On a rainy terraced street another congregation sings heartily. A Methodist preacher holding a bible above his head preaches to a crowd of old and young. Two women Deaconesses of the Methodist Home Mission hand out leaflets, whilst standing next to a white caravan. They talk to children gathered round them. A group of children walk into Sunday School and are shown a filmstrip of bible stories by the Deaconesses. A group of miners walk into a miner’s lodge on a Sunday morning, where a Methodist minister is speaking. The assembly of miners listen intently and clap at the end. A colliery brass band and choir in tuxedos perform to an audience as part of a local festival.

The film changes to show Durham Cathedral as seen from the River Wear. In a rainy field a large congregation, including Lord Lawson, sing. A procession of miners, some carrying banners, march into Durham Cathedral from Palace Green as part of Durham Miners Gala. A view of a field identified as being in South Wales changes to show a mining village followed by a number of different Methodist chapels. A group of people stand outside a Methodist Central Hall. A male voice choir, possibly the Kidwelly Male Voice Choir, perform from the upper gallery of a large chapel next to the organ. The film ends with a Methodist preacher leading a discussion with a group of men followed by rural views, over which the music of a male voice choir can be heard.

End Title: The End.