• Short Summary

    A look at the ways in which fireworks are manufactured and tested.

  • Description

    Hemel Hempstead, Sussex.

    Exterior. C/U of a lit fuse fizzing away on earthy ground. L/S of an explosion of gun powder on a field. Tilt up to follow the clouds of grey smoke rising from the exploded gun powder. The narrator explains that these type of controlled explosions are a routine way of getting rid of excess gun powder at this fireworks factory.

    Interior. M/S of a solemn man, John Campbell, dressed in overalls and a cloth cap. He is standing behind a table taking carefully measured scoops of gun powder out of a tray and tipping them into the card board tubes of Roman Candles. When he has finished filling the tubes he takes at long stick and pokes the gun powder down. C/U of various small scoops lying on the table. John selects one, take a scoop of gunpowder and adds it to the packed down powder already in the tubes. C/U of a tray of "dull looking discs" - "the brightly coloured stars you see when the roman candle goes up". The stars are separated by a fuse and gun powder to eject the stars. C/U of John's hands packing the gunpowder into the tubes. The narrator explains that nearer the top more gun powder is used because there is "less barrel to concentrate the explosion". M/S of John using a funnel to pack the last of the gun powder into the tube. When John has finished packing the bunch of tubes he places them on the table and picks up more empty to tubes and starts the whole task again.

    M/S of a young woman, Nina Hunt, making Catherine wheels. She stands behind a table covered with brightly coloured half-finished Catherine wheels. Behind her are stacks of rockets, completed Catherine wheels and numerous piles of other fireworks. The narrator explains the history behind the Catherine wheel's name - "few of us know it got its name from St. Catherine of Alexandria who was martyred by the Romans on a wheel". C/U of a smiling Nina adding the final explosives to a wheel. C/U of Nina's hands at work. Panning shot to the pile of rainbow coloured fireworks behind her. C/U of the fireworks.

    Exterior. M/S of "the man who must be the envy of every schoolboy", Harry Austin, the fireworks tester, nailing a Catherine wheel to a post. He is standing in the same baron field which the waste gun powder was previously exploded in. Various shots of Harry dressed in a cloth cap and apron as he sets about arranging various different fireworks for a test display. The narrator explains that it is for safety reasons that the factory site appears so empty - it is made of a series of small huts separated by "blast walls". Harry lights the fireworks. Various shots of Catherine wheels spinning and other fireworks exploding as Harry takes notes in his exercise book.

    Various L/Ss of the sky at night lit up by exploding fireworks - including the Roman candles and the spectacular waterfall effect fireworks.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Colour pictorials
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:
    01:00:17:00 / 01:03:29:00
    CP 169

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