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Mining Review 7/12: Tamworth Gala (1954)


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!

The commentary doubles as a synopsis and has therefore been reproduced in full:

For the first time, the miners of the Midlands came together for their own gala in Tamworth. The weather may have been unkind, but miners and their families flocked in their thousands to the old castle town, to take part in the celebrations organised by their own folk, for their own folk.

The Bishop of Lichfield conducted the dedication service in the shadow of the castle walls. The Coal Queen, Alice Bowen, sixteen-year-old daughter of Hanstead ambulanceman John Bowen, was crowned in ceremony after her triumphal ride.

Now it's the turn of Arthur Horner, NUM General Secretary, to tell the miners that 20 million tons would have to be in stock by next winter, if the country was to keep economically solvent. But, said he, there must be still further drastic improvements in the miners' working and living conditions.The Right Honourable James Griffiths, one-time miner and now Privy Councillor, spoke as well.

At the baby show, seven month old Gillian Green took the top prize. There, miners' wives took pride of place. But the men were not forgotten. The sporting events gave them a chance to show what they were made of. But once again the womenfolk had their opportunity of a double act.

With evening drawing on, the funfair became the centre of attraction for the damp but undaunted crowds who had watched the darts and bowling championships, the swimming contest, and listened to the male voice choir. The rides and the sideshows made a fitting end to the Midlands miners' own Day of Days.