Film: 5749

Canals + Waterways | 1950 | Sound | B/W


Life on the canal in Britain 1950's

Bull's Bridge Junction, Southall, Middlesex. Narrowboats with British Waterways painted on the side in lines, end on. About twenty boats in shot. Various angles and shots of the boats. 'Cardiff' and 'Titanic' are seen, also 'Alton' and 'Dipper'. With children on a swing. Man in his boatman's cabin. Woman washes clothes at the back of Fellows, Morton and Clayton boat 'Emerald'. Woman chats. Man polishes brass on his chimney. Dog sleeps on the roof. Inside the boat yard office. The manager takes orders from the London Office. The manager looks at a list of boat pairs. The pairs requires 14. The manager complains on the phone that he has only got eleven pairs to go. He puts the phone down, picks up another and asks that they are sent up for orders. All steerers asked for over the tannoy. The boat people look up. One man lights a cigarette. The man finishes his brass polishing. A girl calls her father from the boatman's cabin. The steerer gets a choice of going to Northampton or Birmingham. The manager writes a loading order. Bill Beresford the steerer signs for his wages. He collects a ration book. Alf is going to Northampton with wheat. Bill enters the engine room of his boat and starts his engine by hand crank. Alf asks for wheat cloths in the stores warehouse. More cloths given out with soap. A boat is filled with diesel from a pump. Two breasted up boats including 'Ayr' move about. The steerer tells his brother 'Brentford then Birmingham'. He unties the butty 'Downham' from the motor 'Pinner'. The butty's filler is reversed and the motor's brass tiller is put on with a pin. The motor moves off. The butty is hooked on, end to end, and the pair move down the straight just past Bull's Bridge. Brent Meadow Wharf, Brentford. Barges, lighters at warehouses. Aluminium ingots are craned into the narrowboat. The steerer oversees getting the trim right. Alf uses a shovel to move wheat grain around his boat. Loading sacks 'up north'. Coal dips at Coventry. Sheeting up the narrowboats. Alf puts the side cloths up on his wheat cargo. Boat and butty reverse into the gauging lock. Man behind brass rail looks at the paper work then comes out with the gauging rod. He measures the dry side of each boat and writes down the tolls in his book. Pinner and Downham leave Brentford Dock. The route of the boats is marked out on a large wall chart. A man moves markers around with tweezers. This is the craft control board. Check points are marked like an underground map. Boat movements reported by phone. Log is made out. The boat and burry approach lock number 62, Slaughters Lock, Boxmoor. The boats enter the lock. Detailed film record of how the two men go through a lock. Operating the paddles, using the ropes and bollards etc., shutting the doors. The boats rise in the lock. Opening the gates. The boats leave the lock end the end. Winkwell Locks and swing bridge. They do this breasted up. The boats are tied together at both ends. Joe operates the swing bridge, near the pub. Joe turns the handle. A narrow lock. The boat is bow hauled in by a woman. A big lock, probably on the river Weaver which has a lock keeper. Joe walks up to a red phone telephone box in the village of Linford. A boat repair yard. Man takes a call. Man in overalls leaves in a van from the maintenance yard at Gayton. Hatton and Bulbourne yards. Man works on a yard in a covered dry dock, probably Bull's Bridge Engines in the works shed. Man points the side of a boat, sign writing. Van arrives. Steam Dredging, several good shots. 'Alice' a steam dredger. Close up of wash. Steel piling, Lock repair, empty lock with workers. New lock gate at Bulbourne. The engine gets going. Engineer fills in a trip card. Boats at Stoke Bruerne Blisworth Tunnel, view from inside cut, interior shots, lots of interior shots. Chirk, Maida Hill and Gosty Hill Tunnels are shown. Harecastle Tunnel with the electric tug and a line of boats. Tug shown in detail. Gayton Junction. Lots of narrow boat shots at whilton Bottom lock, Norton Junction, all angles, travelling shots, passing other craft. Lock gates. Braunston. Washing the deck. Spinning the mop. Filling the Buckby can. Close up of using a dipper. Shovelling coal. Close up of untying the rope. More travelling shots with Brauston church, a concrete bridge at Napton Junction through the bridge hole, over the GWR railway in an aqueduct. Up the Hatton flight. Knowle Flight. Through an industrial canal landscape. Samson Road Depot, Birmingham, busy canal side in Birmingham. Smoky chimney. Mobile crane, 'Rapier'. Basin with train wagon behind. Taking off the sheets. Birmingham on a map. Middlewich. Anderton boat lift. River Weaver with chemical industries along the bank. Weston Point Docks on the Mersey. The River Trent. The Aire and Calder Navigation. Leeds, a warehouse with a wool bale on a crane. The River Severn. Stourport. Worcester, link with Birmingham and Canal. Gloucester. Sharpness Docks. Thames. Pontcyscylte Aquaduct. Caen Hill flight. Winterburn Reservoir on the Leeds Liverpool. Canal cutting on the Shropshire Union, Foxton Locks engineering over the country. A lift bridge. Launching a boat 'Yewdale'. Horse drawn. Horse goes under a bridge. Going through the Birmingham canals at Bordesley Junction.

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