Saturday, 11 September 2010

Things To Come: The location of the battle in the colliery

Some time ago I wrote a blog entry about Alexander Korda's 1936 film THINGS TO COME.

After 'The Boss' or 'Chief' has restored some form of peace and order on 'Everytown', he starts a short but decisive war against the 'hill people' (whom one assumes are the Welsh) to capture the coal mines that will enable his 'country' to have a source of power.

The locations used for this part of the film looked very realistic ... and a recent email that I have received informs me that it was a genuine but disused colliery in South Wales.

The email was sent to me by Graham Bennett, who is a retired coal miner from South Wales. He has a particular interest in recording the history of the collieries of Wales, and he very kindly sent me the following information and photographs of the actual location used for this part of Korda's film:
  • The location used for the film was the South Griffin Colliery, which was situated in the Bourneville Abertillery/Blaina area
  • The first part of the mine was begun in 1873 (No. 1 Pit), and two further pits (Nos. 2 and 2 Pits) were added in 1878
  • In 1888, the colliery was linked to the nearby Roseheyworth Colliery
  • No. 1 Pit was closed in 1909
    • In 1921 Nos. 2 and 3 Pits were closed, but continued to be used to ventilate the Roseheyworth Colliery
    • In 1935, the disused colliery was used as a location for Alexander Korda's film, and many local unemployed miners were used as 'extras'
    • In 1959 the colliery was capped, and the site was used as a dumping ground for waste from the Roseheyworth Colliery, which was itself closed in 1985
    • The film location is no longer visible, as it is now covered by the spoil heap from the Roseheyworth Colliery
    As a lover of old films – particularly those made by Alexander Korda – I am very grateful to Graham Bennett for sending me this information and giving me permission to use photographs from his collection.


    1. A very interesting post, Bob . . . about something that I knew nothing about.

      -- Jeff

    2. Bluebear Jeff,

      It was a somewhat esoteric topic for a blog entry, but I thought that it was an interesting piece of information that some people might find of interest.

      One thing that did strike me was that if most of the extras were local unemployed miners, they would probably all have served in the UK Armed Forces during the First World War. This may well account for the way they move and act during the short battle scenes.

      All the best,