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Mining Review 2/3: Shipyard for Colliers (1948)


Main image of Mining Review 2/3: Shipyard for Colliers (1948)
Mining Review 2nd Year No. 3: Shipyard For Colliers
November 1948
35mm, black and white, 2 mins
DirectorPeter Pickering
Production CompanyData Film Productions
SponsorNational Coal Board
PhotographyJohn Reid, Ron Bicker

At a Sunderland shipyard, colliers are built to carry coal from Northern coalfields to various other parts of Britain.

Show full synopsis

Mining Review frequently reminded its audience of the close ties between traditional British industries. In this case, the link is between coal mining and shipbuilding, with purpose-built ships (colliers) designed to transport large quantities of coal to assorted British coastal locations ('coastwise'): gas works, power stations and heavy industry.

As the film emphasises, it's a two-way process - coal is needed to construct the colliers in the first place, and there is also considerable input from other industries, notably steel. As the commentary points out, three years after the end of World War II, the colliers are as important to the British economy as luxury liners.

Two ships are highlighted: 'Pompey Light' and 'Pompey Power'. As their names imply, they were commissioned by the city of Portsmouth and formally launched at Sunderland's Austin & Son shipyard in 1949. They were designed to carry coal from the Northern coalfields to power stations in Portsmouth, and carried this out for just over a decade. In 1960, the opening of the oil-fired Marchwood power station made the ships redundant. 'Pompey Light' was scrapped in 1968, though 'Pompey Power' still exists under the name 'Hamen', given after she was sold to a Norwegian company in the early 1960s.

Michael Brooke

*This film is included in the BFI DVD compilation 'Tales from the Shipyard'.

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