This film is part of Free

Mining Review 10th Year No. 11

Ashington, Northumberland, when it was still King of Coal. Plus folk star Ewan MacColl.

1957 9 mins


Legendary mining village Ashington is the star of this enjoyable issue of the coal industry's long running newsreel. A quietly moving report from its Rogation Sunday service opens the issue, and a brisk but sweeping and stirring portrait of the Northumberland area closes it. Plus: roller skating fun in Herne Bay and the great Ewan MacColl performing one of his coalmining folksongs.

Area Profile' and 'Songs of the Coalfields' were both recurring Mining Review features at the time. MacColl's The Plodder Seam was the fourth of six 'Songs' released in 1957 (a year before his involvement in the BBC’s famous 'Radio Ballads'). Unlike the other five, this was MacColl's own composition, not the Victorian ballad that Mining Review claims it to be... The Ashington area profile may be industrial propaganda but with an unmistakeable warmth and sincerity. It's hard not to be moved by the heroic montage of miners name-checking their pits - all since closed.