Film: 5161

Industry + Work | 1950 | Sound | B/W


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Steel manufacturing in South Wales in 1940's. The Steel Company of Wales.
The rolling of steel in the Welsh valleys, Ebbw Vale, Port Talbot, Llanelly / Llanelli

Turning farmland into factories in the post-war years. Trostre tinplate works.
Rolling mills. Ebbw Vale rolling mill. The whole story of South Wales steel manufacturing. Docks of one of the south Wales ports. Demolition of old brick chimney, and a farm house being blown up. Laying drains. Port Talbot. Surveying at Cosgrave near Llanelli.
First minute shows rostrum of very old maps of Europe and the British Isles. A rolling mill. Men passing the rolled sheets of tin plate back and for with large tongs. The steel is re-inserted in the furnace. Looks terribly inefficient and labour-intensive. Text tells of the 'skills' of the men as we see man flatting metal sheet with his foot. Man inserts steel plate into furnace and wipes his face on a towel he has hanging next to him. Woman brings sheet over to man near pressing machine. Men and women working in factory. Man turning over a book of sheets. Other man cutting metal. A made-up box for export to Montevideo, Uruguay and another bound for Santos, Brazil. The steel-rolling mill of Ebbw Vale (in operation since 1938). Good external views of the Ebbw Vale works. Architects office where they are presumably designing the various new factories and works. Trostre. South Wales dock and importation of iron ore. Conveyor belt with finished steel sheets rolling along. Near ruins of old Margam Abbey the start of construction of the Margam, Port Talbot site in Spring of 1947. A heavy road roller at work with men walking about carrying building materials. A lake with a swan on it. Boys in pond. Preparing to drain the lake. Cattle walk past. Dredging bucket scoops mud from ditch. Digger operator at work smoking stub of cigarette. Men shovelling mud in a ditch. Large industrial bucket being craned from a deep hole. Panoramic sweep of construction site revealing drainage pipe sections and a ditch. Plan of Margam steelworks. Model of the same. The exterior of the number two blast furnace. Pan up an old brick industrial chimney. Preparing to demolish chimney with man using a pneumatic drill to drill hole into bricks. Preparing a charge. Man winding up detonator. An explosion and chimney falls. Commentary tells us the chimney came down safely 'for the loss of only one house and two bicycles'. Men welding and dismantling part of lower chimney metal casing. Agricultural fields and site of the Trostre works before construction began. Construction of a permanent open drain around the whole works. On the site two earth movers push pile of earth around. A workman has to move out of the way a bit sharpish! Construction of railway sidings off the Great Western Railway line. Culvert laid. A Wimpey tipper truck tips sand around the covered culvert. Tiny steam engine working on an embankment. A coal truck is hauled out of a drift. A long shot of an area of land in front of a works being blown up. Diggers shifting sand from an area of sand dunes. Margam works. Putting in concrete piles. The coking works. Preformed steel girder lowered into place. Man walks along top of high girder. Man climbs down high wobbly ladder. Different parts of the site compared over a period of a year to show the development. Men shovel sand or cement down chute. Preparation for re-enforced concrete for a furnace. Vast industrial site with new housing estates surrounding it. Cooling tower. Men wheeling wheelbarrows along boards at top of cooling tower. (Very dangerous work practices, health and safety would enjoy this). Blowing up a farmhouse at Trostre. Men using levels on an area of concrete base. Men on hands and knees brush hot asphalt over concrete.
At a port, a floating crane lifting 97 ton section. The ports were Port Talbot for Margam and Swansea for Trostre. Imported piece of steel loaded on train. Cooling tower, pump house and water tower. Railway sides. Coal wagons. Coal wagon tipped to empty contents. Margam blast furnace. Team of men drilling into concrete. Smelting and sparks flying. Long-handled ladle and man pours small amount of molten metal into mould. Men pulling away sand dam and allowing molten metal to run. Metal runs through sand mould. Man working and mopping brow with handkerchief. Exteriors - large mass of scrap iron. A 90-ton diesel locomotive shunting large iron moulds. Laying bricks in a furnace. Man slides bricks down chute to bricklayer at bottom of pit. Lining a flue with bricks. Man motions and giant cog wheel starts rotating. Electricity pylon. Surveyor working at Trostre works. He motions sideways with his hand from the theodolite. Men trudge through shallow water. Palm oil tanks? Close up on man who is supervising removing large red hot block of iron or steel from a furnace. It is carried by crane shedding as it goes. This metal block is lifted and then rolled back and forth on rollers and under a compressor. 350 tons an hour is processed. Good panorama of steel works and hills beyond, probably at Margam. Men hauling chains.

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