Film: 8876

Places + Locations | 1950 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

The geography, topography and industries of Belgium in the 1950's.

Map of northern France and the low countries. Map of Belgium, divided into two regions by the rivers Sambre and Meuse lowlands and uplands. Coastal dunes, esplanade of a seaside resort. Paddling holiday makers. Deckchairs and parasols on a beach, a pier in the distance. Children in the sea, a ferry in the distance. A ferry sails out of Ostende, heading for Dover. A fishing boat in the harbour. Another angle. A fisherman unloads some of his catch. And places it on the quay. Passersby regard the fish.
A panorama from the coastal dunes to the inner polder region. Cows graze on a dike by the river Scheldt in the east. Clay fields drained by ditches and channels. Farmhouses beside a ditch. A bridge over a smaller channel. Barley or wheat is harvested by a tractor or small machine. A windmill beside a ditch. Pasture land with cows. They stand beside a small bridge. Farm buildings and crop fields- part of the sandy plain of Flanders. Crop field and barn. Hay and crop fields. A farmer hauls manure from the back of a cart. Closer. Horses pull a farmer and a barrel which dispenses slurry. A horse pulls a small plough. A farmer and his wife hoe between (probably) cabbages. The farmer. His wife. Two horses pull a harvesting machine. The cereal is collected. A labourer hoes. Two labourers dig up potatoes. Closer. Women, on their knees, gather the potatoes into baskets.
A barge sails up a canal in the central plain of Belgium. A cereal field in large open arable land, the farms here are much larger than those near the coast. A tractor harvests the cereal. Seen from behind. A truck nearby, laden with cereal. A sugarbeet field. A tractor ploughs the loamy soil. A team of three Brabant horses pull a roller over the soil. Seen from behind. A barn. Farm buildings round a central courtyard. Poultry in the yard. The farmer's wife feeding them. Closer. Greenhouses, part of the market garden industry. Closer. Inside one of the glasshouses, where grapes are grown. A bunch of ripe grapes. A market in Brussels where the vegetables are sold. Stalls and sellers. A stall- keeper sells tomatoes.
A wide, busy street in Brussels. A major dual carriageway in the city. Historic buildings in the centre. A facade of 18 cty houses. The medieval town hall, probably. Its facade. The map of lowlands and uplands again, the latter divided into plateaux. The wide river Meuse, anglers in rowing boats. A barge sails up the valley. Rich pasture land, dotted with cows and trees. A farmer's wife takes a pail of milk to a cart laden with churns. Apples on a tree. A large fortified farmhouse, impressive walls and towers. Further inland stretch woods. Ardennes forest. One of the few farmhouses in the region, a modern brick affair. A farmhouse, protected by a windbreak of trees. Another. Farmhands and cattle on an upland pasture. A dog helps pull a cart of milk churns.
A lorry load of milk churns drives away, stocks of timber lie on the other side of the road timber is the other industry of the Ardennes. A lumber yard, a workman carrying a log. A lorry bearing long timber logs drives down a road. A valley reservoir. A sign warns people about the water. Water rushes through a sluice gate.
Map of Belgium divided into its different regions, and areas of industrial production are highlighted, including fur textiles, coal. Medieval houses and canal in a Flanders cloth town (possibly Ghent). The town hall and belfry in Ghent. Stepped gable houses. Bridge near the Beginhof in Bruges ( Brugge ). A quaint medieval house in the same town. Closer, to see two ladies making lace by hand. Closer to see the dextrous skills involved. The woman's studious face. The lace in front of her. Bushels of flax in a field. Bushels piled together. A huge pile of flax outside the mill or factory where it will be soaked to soften it. Cones of flax drying in a field. A workman sorts the flax fibres. Closer. The flax in his hands. Rows of spinning machines inside a mill. A workman, the machines weaving yarn into linen. Montage of details of the machines in operaation. A spinnery mill beside a canal, a barge sailing by. Inside, a workman puts raw cotton through a machine. The cotton inside the machine. Women at work beside looms. Close-up of cotton reels and threads. Another weaving mill, machines fast at work. Detail. Woolen mills alongside a river bank. Piles of imported wool inside. A miller sorts the wool. A machine combs the wool. Washed wool rolls off a conveyor belt. Another machine spins the threads into yarn. A woman operates the yarn spinning machine.
The skyline of a smoky industrial city. Houses on the edge of the city near a colliery. A colliery in operation behind terraced houses. Empty coal wagons entering a lift. Another angle. Coal descends a chute. Closer. Canal and smoking factories in an industrial city. Wharfs and industrial buildings- probably at Liege. Inside an iron works, ore is smelted, sparks everywhere. Shadows and flames. Glowing molten metal, flowing into a container. Riverside view of an ore works. Workmen lower a crane load of zinc bars. A chemical plant- containers and pipes. A glass factory with a huge chimney in the middle. Inside this glass factory at Charleroi. A workman near molten sand. A supervisor looks at automatic control panels. A glass rod is inserted into a furnace. Plate glass is rolled off. A worker carefully moves plate glass using a transporting device.
A sand pit. Young fir trees. A road through a commercial forest (all in the North east where the sandy soil is good only for forestry). A colliery, seen from a distance. Another, closer. An industrial plant built on poor heathland. Factory chimneys seen beyond woods and a river. Barge on a canal. Another, the banks lined with trees. Barges on a wider canal- the barges are used to transport minerals and industrial goods- probably in Antwerp. The port of Antwerp. Barges, industrial buildings. Map of Belgium showing the major cities, canal and rail networks. A square in the centre of Antwerp, part of the Gothic cathedral seen over rooftops. The jumbled rooftops of the city, which is (was?) one of the four largest ports in the world. Its busy harbour, large merchant vessels. A crane unloads coal on a barge. A huge mountain of iron ore. Bails of wool or cotton being unloaded. Closer. Zinc bars are hoisted from a barge, ready for export. Galvanised pipes are pulled on a cart by a tractor. Steel rods are lifted through the air. Similar. Carded wool is lowered into the cargo bay of a ship. A crane prepares to lift up flax bales. Another crane carries a box of manufactured goods. Merchant ships in the port. The prow of a ship . Its bow as it sails away. A tugboat leads a merchant ship out. Farmhouses in flat countryside.
Farm buildings in the Ardennes. Railway lines and industrial buildings. Barge near a factory. The chemical plant seen earlier. Inside a cloth mill, a woman handles cloth balls. Weaving machines at work. A farmer ploughs with a simple plough and one horse. Headscarved women on their knees, gathering potatoes in baskets. A family harvests cereal with a tractor and old-fashioned threshing device. Credits over Belgian city scenes.


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