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Topical Budget 503-1: In the Shadow of Disaster (1921)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

"IN THE SHADOW OF DISASTER - Scenes of the Great Coal Crisis of 1921"

Scenes of the coal strike prior to the threatened declaration of a general strike. "Crowds waiting outside the Board of Trade". View of same.

"Troops passed while the conference was in session". Marching troops in tin helmets pass along a street.

"Coal owners leaving the Board of Trade". Twenty plus men leave the building.

"The Miners' Leaders leave". About sixteen men leave - there is little to distinguish the owners from the leaders.

"The Call!". Men stand by a poster reading "Calling out of the Army Reserve".

"The Answer - London Scottish take the Oath for 90 days". Men at a table, in the open air, take off their caps, raise their hands and swear the oath.

"Bring what uniform you can". Two men, on the steps of a building, partly dressed in uniforms and partly in civilian clothes - one of them wears an army kilt. A troop of men (partly dressed as civilians and partly as soldiers - as are all the soldiers in the subsequent scenes) marching along Wimbledon Common.

"First of Defence Corps going to camp on Wimbledon Common". Soldiers pose for camera. Troops try, with difficulty, to erect a large tent. Other tents can be seen in the background. A field kitchen; feeding the men; soldiers at a table eating and laughing.

"Many miners were part of the Reservists called up in South Wales". Reservists (in civilian clothes) are cheered by soldiers (in uniforms) as they enter barracks. Hand shaking and greetings between the two groups.

"'Thomas Atkins' in the Rhondda". Two soldiers on duty; another soldier gently pushes back the watching crowd of children; other soldiers look on.

"Are we Down-hearted?". A small group of children and miners are entertained by a child on a barrel who conducts the children in singing (?) . In the background is a pit-head wheel. A woman plays a lute (?) and sings outside her front door entertaining some children and her neighbours. They all laugh.