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Energy (c. 1934)

National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales collection

Main image of Energy (c. 1934)
35mm film, 22 mins, black & white, silent
SponsorCory Brothers and Co. Limited
National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales collection

The Cory Brothers & Co. Limited, owner of collieries in South Wales and oil refineries world-wide, promotes its coal, petroleum and electricity generating enterprises, stressing its concern for the health and welfare of the miners.

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Overweening in tone, this promotional film leaves the viewer in no doubt that Cory Brothers & Co. Limited is a major player in the revered capitalist/imperialist world economy, for it literally owns power (i.e. coal and oil) which is, according to an intertitle, the essential factor of all industrial progress.

It is careful to convey, however, that the needs of the humble are as much the company's concern as its international, commercial clientele. The Corys Merthyr Steam Coal is described as 'homely' and is seen being used by an elderly couple, who sit contentedly either side of their fire, cheered by its glow. A small boat - the little 'Guernseyman' - is seen leaving with coal for the inhabitants of the Channel Islands, and ordinary men and women use what are described as the now familiar and appreciated Cory filling [petrol] stations. The provision of Spanish as well as English intertitles indicates that the film must have been intended for screening (possibly to actual and potential customers, competitors and business partners) beyond the UK, e.g. in South America, where the company traded. With its fairly detailed footage of mining, it may also have been used for educational or training purposes.

Operating world wide, the Cory family amassed a huge fortune - and over 5,000 coal wagons (the largest fleet in the UK). The founder of their empire, Richard Cory I, started off with a small ferry boat, plying his trade between Bristol, Cardiff and Ireland. He extended his business to include ship's chandlery, brokerage and the sale and export of coal. His sons John and Richard II (trading as Messrs. Cory Brothers and Company, becoming 'limited' in 1888) continued the energetic expansion, buying mines in South Wales and opening offices and coal stores abroad. Clifford John Cory (d.1941), a son of John Cory, achieved Baronet status.

At home, the Corys were known for their Christian spirit and charitable inclinations, benevolently succouring the Temperance Movement, the Salvation Army, Dr Barnardo's, sailors' associations and humanitarian and cultural organisations.

[Cory history source: Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig Hyd 1940 by the Hon. Society of Cymmrodorion, 1953 (a Welsh Biographical Dictionary)]

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
Complete film (21:22)
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