Mining history brought to life again in second film

RESCUE TEAM: Men who helped after the Easington Colliery disaster.
RESCUE TEAM: Men who helped after the Easington Colliery disaster.
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A SECOND set of footage is taking to the screen in a series offering a view of life at the coalface.

The latest DVD of Collieries of Northumberland and Durham has been released and is a follow up to another issued earlier this year after a wealth of footage was handed over to a history group.

PIT LIFE: A scene from Murton Colliery.

PIT LIFE: A scene from Murton Colliery.

The Six Townships team hascompiled the films after scanning through hours of coverage.

It focuses on the Easington Colliery disaster on May 29, 1951, when 81 miners died when an explosion ripped through the mine and two others who were part of the rescue crew were also killed.

Photos taken at the time show the efforts launched in the aftermath of the incident.

Scenes of blasting at Shotton Colliery taken from the surface and underground also appear in the 45 minute-long film, as does its yard, along with underground images from Murton’s colliery and shots of Seaham’s Vane Tempest pit, where scenes include the miners in the lamp room, descending the mine into the pit cage and its longwall coalface.

AWAITING NEWS: Crowds gather to hear details of Easington Colliery disaster.

AWAITING NEWS: Crowds gather to hear details of Easington Colliery disaster.

John Dawson is a member of the group and worked as a pitman himself at Whittle Colliery near Alnwick.

He said: “The footage is fantastic, really interesting and it’s nice to be able to look back and see the differences between the collieries, even if you didn’t work at them.

“Lots of people will like to know how the machines worked and what they used.

“It shows a road head machine at Vane Tempest and that was a coal cutting machine.

“There’s also a montage and it’s interesting to see over the years how things have evolved.”

Other pits in the show include Bedlington, Blackhill, Allerden Drift Mine, Choppington, Shilbottle and Eccles.

The initial disc includes film and pictures from Eppleton, Dawdon, Seaham and Lambton.

The third DVD in the series is being lined up for release in the New Year.

The latest is available for £5.99 via www.sixtownships.org.uk, which also features a host of other images and postcards of Sunderland, and is free to schools.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham