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Mining Review 1/9: Coal Quiz Kids (1948)


Main image of Mining Review 1/9: Coal Quiz Kids (1948)
Mining Review 1st Year No. 9: Coal Quiz Kids
May 1948
35mm, black and white, 4 mins
Production CompanyData Film Productions
SponsorNational Coal Board

Tommy Handley comperes a children's prizegiving ceremony.

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This item depicts the prizegiving ceremony following a nationwide school quiz on the subject of coal mining. Disappointingly, we are not given any examples of the questions and answers, but the film is nonetheless interesting for what it reveals about how children entertained themselves in what was still essentially a pre-television era.

The event took place at the Kilburn State Cinema in North London. Boasting 2,000 seats, at the time of its construction in 1937 it was the biggest cinema in Europe, renowned for its art deco architecture and Mightly Wurlitzer organ. (The latter is still in situ, though the building itself has long since found a more profitable use as a bingo hall).

The item also includes some of the last footage of Tommy Handley (1892-1949), who would die suddenly in January 1949, only a few months after this item was screened. An enormously popular comedian at the time, he achieved the zenith of his fame during the war, when his weekly radio comedy programme ITMA (It's That Man Again) became one of the BBC's most popular attractions. It continued to run after the war, but the BBC decided that it couldn't survive Handley's passing.

The prizes themselves were presented by a genuine miner, identified here as Mr Pritchard, and were won by Alastair Simpson of Firth and Valerie Griffith from Cardiff.

Michael Brooke

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Complete item (3:39)
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