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Mining Review 4/9: Communication Cord (1951)


Main image of Mining Review 4/9: Communication Cord (1951)
Mining Review 4th Year No.9: Nottinghamshire - Communication Cord
35mm, black and white, 2 mins
May 1951
DirectorsGrahame Tharp
Production CompanyData Film Productions
SponsorNational Coal Board
Cameras M.Gayton, J. Gunn

Demonstration of a new safety communications device at Thoresby Colliery in Nottinghamshire.

Show full synopsis

This Mining Review item looks at the installation and operation of a newly-devised coal conveyor signalling system. It had been invented two years earlier by Gerald Russon, chief electrician of Thoresby Colliery near Nottingham, and had won the National Coal Board's East Midlands Safety Competition.

Russon's own colliery was the obvious place to try it out, and this news item demonstrates both how it works, and gives some idea of the delicate negotiations that had to be carried out between management and miners. As the commentary points out, "mining is an old industry and custom plays a big part underground" - not least because as workers in a highly hazardous profession, miners are understandably reluctant to try out new ideas if they're not entirely sure of their ultimate worth.

But in this case the attraction of Russon's concept is obvious - it's designed to prevent accidents by adopting an agreed system of signals to do with running the coal conveyor, a far clearer means of communication than what the commentary refers to as "shouting or whistling to the motor man a hundred yards up".

The item concludes with the news that Russon's idea has spread to collieries right across the East Midlands.

Originally released in May 1951, this item was reissued five years later as part of Mining Review's Science Special compilation.

Michael Brooke

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Video Clips
Complete item (1:46)
Complete newsreel (9:37)
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