Wednesday, September 25, 2013

United Kingdom part 5 - Silverwood Colliery. Promotional Film

I uncovered this film gathering dust on VHS and can't quite remember where I got it from.

It's a corporate video produced in the late 1980s to promote Silverwood Colliery. I'm guessing it was made in around 1989 or 1990, ahead of the pit closure programme of the early 1990s that eventually saw the pit cease production and close down for good.

Once you get past the corporate speak it gives an interesting view of the pit above and below ground, and provides a nostalgic look back on the coal mining history of this area.


Great Britain is an industrial capitalist country. Brit­ain's traditional industries were textile manufacture, ship­building and coal mining — with its 300 years of reserves — as major energy source. Leading branches of British industry are power engineering, electronic equipment manufacture, machine-tool construction, aircraft, motor-car and chemistry but Britain's engineering is the major branch of industry.

Great Britain is not rich in natural resources. Britain's own natural resources are inadequate to supply its industry with essential raw materials. The only exception is coal which is of good coking quality. Over the last decade the number of mines reduced from 246 to 175. The British miners fought against the closure of mines and a lot of them lost their jobs. Nevertheless coal reserves are still enough to supply the country with energy. The main consumers of coal are power stations, industry and homes.

In 1965 gas was discovered in the North Sea off Britain's shores and in 1969 oil was discovered in the North Sea. The reserves of non-ferrous metal ores are inconsiderable. Iron ore production supplies less than half the total needs and the iron ore is low-grade. Britain has to import high-grade iron ore from other countries.

In Great Britain deposits of hard coal are found through­out the country. The most efficient coal deposits are in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, and Derbyshire which form the largest and most important coal-field in Britain. The coking coal deposits are also found in Durham and Northumberland deposits are found in Scotland, South Wales and Kent.

The mechanization of underground operations began in the mid-1950s — first with coal cutting machines, then with power loading machines, and then with self-advancing pow­ered roof supports.
Open-pit operations represent a relatively small propor­tion.

It is quite obvious that now economy depends on joint efforts of educational  institutions and  industry.

In Great Britain there are different educational institu­tions where students can get higher education. These are universities   with   extra-mural   and   evening   departments, university colleges and different courses. The oldest and best known universities of Great Britain are those in Oxford and Cambridge. Oxford is the oldest university, its history goes back to the twelfth century. There are also universities in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham and in other cities. Each university consists of a number of depart­ments such as medicine, philosophy, natural sciences, eco­nomics, engineering, agriculture, education and others. After three years of study, a student may proceed to a Bach­elor's degree and later to the degrees of Master and Doctor.

In Great Britain the tuition fee at universities and col­leges is high and besides a degree is no guarantee of a job.

One of the most marked features of recent education is the increasing attention given to engineering education.

At present there are a number of technical colleges and departments of universities which give instructions in engi­neering, mining, geology, etc. Such colleges provide full-time and part-time education. They confer diplomas but not degrees. For example, there are colleges which aim at pro­viding mining engineers who have several years' practical experience in the industry with a chance to broaden their knowledge of administration and operation. The subjects include economic geology, computer techniques, statistics, rock mechanics, industrial psychology and operations research.

Laboratory and field work help the students determine the behavior of rocks and methods of breaking rock-blasting, drilling, etc. The graduates from these courses can work in various fields of mining and geology.

As has been said the students in Great Britain can get mining education at special colleges and at mining depart­ments of universities. Much attention is paid to training through post-graduate courses. But a great number of young British geologists and mining engineers are not able to take advantage of such courses through lack of funds.

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