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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 October, 2004, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Film tells of 'forgotten' miners
Pillars of ironstone taken from Eston mine stand in the town
An epic film about the north-east of England's forgotten miners, put together in a Teesside bedroom, has made it to the big-screen.

A Century in Stone by Craig Hornby tells the story of how Eston became the iron mining capital of the world after iron ore was discovered in 1850.

The film sold out when it was shown in Middlesbrough, beating all other major films in its first week.

It will now be shown at major cinemas in South Tyneside and Sheffield.

Mr Hornby hopes the film may then be seen nationwide.

The discovery of a massive iron-ore seam in the Eston hills, near Middlesbrough, in 1850 sparked scenes akin to America's Gold Rush and rapidly transformed Teesside from unknown marshland to the iron and steel capital of the world.

'Savage conditions'

Three thousand people saw the film when it opened at the UCG cinema in Middlesbrough.

The film features underground re-enactments, rare archive footage and interviews with the very last of the iron men who dug the world's biggest iron mine and provided components for the steel for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Tyne Bridge and structures across the world.

Mr Hornby said the film marked the achievement of a childhood dream: "Growing up in Eston I played at the old mine sites on the hills.

"By the time I was leaving school in the early 80s, you could look down on the Teesside skyline and see the decimation of heavy industry all too clear and with it of course traditional proud communities.

"I wanted to preserve the untold people's history before it was lost forever. The only heritage to be promoted was the Captain Cook story but Teesside's history really began 600ft below Eston hills in savage conditions."

Mr Hornby said the film was a "tale of working class struggle" and one which he hoped to tell to the rest of the world.

In pictures: History returns home
26 Apr 04  |  Photo Gallery

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