THE first in a series of DVDs exploring colliery village life in the old Durham coalfield has been released.

Colliery Villages of Durham visits Murton, Wheatley Hill, Shotton and Dawdon, displaying life in days now long gone.

The DVD boasts a vast amount of rare archive footage and photographs to bring history to life.

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It features events, street scenes, fashion, entertainment, schools, transport, housing, leek growing, rapper sword dancers, women’s football, pit ponies, poverty, strikes and soup kitchens.

Some of the footage was recorded during the 1926 strike.

John Dawson, from the project, said: “You will certainly get your eyes opened as you witness how hard life was in the early days.

“Times may be hard today but back then it was as hard as you got.

“You won’t forget what your ancestors went through when you view this film and, you never know, if you’re old enough you may recall some of these memories.”

There are scenes from Vesting Day – when the mines were nationalised, the Coronation and right up to the 1970s.

The DVD running time is approximately 60 minutes. The cost is £5.99. It is free to schools. For more information, visit