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KS4 Geography: King Coal (1948)

Thinking about UK energy provision with this short animation

Main image of KS4 Geography: King Coal (1948)
Author Poppy Simpson, BFI
TopicEnergy sources
Curriculum linksNC KS4 Geography - Themes: resource issues

An animation produced by the National Coal Board to promote the importance of the coal industry.

King Coal (1948) is a rousing propaganda piece, produced one year after the launch of the National Coal Board. 'King Coal' appears as a beacon of progress, fuelling the factories and homes of Britain and, the film suggests, contributing to the liberty and freedom of the population.

In this activity, the animation offers a way in to discussing how Britain's source and supply of energy has changed since the film was made.



After watching the film through, ask students for their initial thoughts on the film. Why do they think it was made? Who do they think it was made for? What is the key message of the film?

This can lead on to a discussion about the role of coal in the UK today. Many students will not be aware of the extent of Britain's mining industry up until the 1980s. Ask them to read through the Screenonline collection, King Coal to help develop their knowledge. Challenge students to use this, and their own basic research to answer the question: Is coal still King?


Some more ideas

How might students update this animation to reflect the UK's energy supply today. Or can they develop their own idea for a new 'instructional' animation that gives an overview of Britain's sources of energy?

Video Clips
Complete film (3:12)

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of King Coal (1948)King Coal (1948)

Read more about this film

See also