2hrs 11mins
Dir: Ken Russell
Starring: Glenda Jackson and Jennie Linden

The sexual encounters of two sisters during the 1920s

This brilliant romantic drama is a famous adaptation of the 1920 D. H. Lawrence novel of the same name. It was applauded as a good rendering of Lawrence’s once controversial novel about love, sex and the upper class in England and it is just as complex. The film, which is memorable for many reasons, features some dramatic scenes with coal trains hauled by industrial Saddle Tanks. The exact location of these scenes is not known but the colliery pithead in the film was ‘A’ Pit of Bedlington Colliery, Northumberland, which closed in 1971. There are also some wonderful early period scenes filmed on restored trams at the National Tramway Museum, Crich, with a beautiful brass band rendition of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles as a background accompaniment.

Jennie Linden and Glenda Jackson inside a tram full of miners. Another tram passes by outside the window and it appears to be Johannesburg No.60, built by the Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Works in Preston in 1905.
Jennie Linden and Glenda Jackson alight from a tram. In reality this is a period scene filmed at the National Tramway Museum, Crich. The tram is Gateshead & District Tramways Company No.5. The notice about the Miner’s Strike is of interest. A major strike took place in 1921, although it could be referring to the General Strike of 1926. Either way, the tram was not built until 1927, but this slight inaccuracy can be forgiven.
As the pair walk off another tram passes by in the background, the identity of which currently eludes the author
Looking across fields, a distant coal train approaches
Oliver Reed chases the train on horseback. The classic Midland Railway brake van is of interest.
The two sisters wait at the level crossing as the coal train rumbles across. The saddle tank locomotive is unidentified, but looks to be a very tired and worn Robert Stephenson design. Also noticeable is the fact that it appears to lack a coal bunker!
The train has passed, and the women watch Oliver Reed ride off into the distance. Note the grounded railway van in the field on the left.
The locomotive passing out of shot is No.1, an 0-6-0 saddle tank. This is said to have been filmed at ‘A’ Pit of Bedlington Colliery, Northumberland. With thanks to Ian Bendall at the Industrial Railway Society we can open the debate further. There was no ‘No.1’ at Bedlington at the time of filming, but the bufferbeam is clearly that of a Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns design. Therefore, if it is the case that the pit was Bedlington, then the loco is likely to be No.16, RSHN W/No.7944 of 1957 and now preserved. Either way, it is wholly inaccurate for a film set in the 1920s.