• Short Summary

    Excellent documentary showing the environmental effects of air pollution.

  • Description

    c. 1954

    Documentary about air pollution commissioned by the Gas Council. Continued.

    Air pollution test station - laboratory tests are made. Samples are shown of various levels of air pollution. "To a scientist of course it's doubly offensive for he knows it's stupid waste."
    Rural industry - shots of coal on conveyor belt, smoking industrial chimney, shot of smoky urban area, lorry tipping coal, digger moving coal. Gas industry explained - "a clean, flexible, smokeless fuel". Coke is described. Landscape shots (cows in a field, combine harvester) as narrator explains that the by-product of coke production - ammonium sulphate - is used as a fertiliser.
    Shot of smoky industrial landscape - the bill for the "waste" is discussed. Coal miners in C/U digging out coal - the result of their hard work "to be sent up in futile clouds of filth." The cost of increased "wash bills", cleaning, sweeping, cost of damage to crops and vegetation, smoke inspectors etc. £100 to clean the greenhouses at Kew after a bad London fog - shots of man hosing down the glass. Man up a ladder cleans the frontage of a public building. L/S of the Houses of Parliament. Various shots of a man inspecting the damage to an ornate section of Westminster Abbey. Large chunks of stone fall off into the man's hands.
    Smoggy day. Transport discussed - bus drives through smog, man looks out of a window as train travels past through a pea souper. Cost to everyone when transport is delayed and the cost to health, inefficiency at work etc. Estimation that the cost of air pollution to the economy is given: £250,000,000 a year, supered on screen.

    L/S of a town hall. C/U of a poster advertising a public meeting where Mr R.E. Lawson the well-known fuel technologist will be speaking. Shots of the audience at the meeting. Mr Lawson speaks of the waste involved in burning coal and how it costs everyone. C/Us of the audience. C/U of Mr Lawson as he speaks of smokeless air.

    Man works at an "old boiler" shovelling in coal. Lawson speaks of new, more efficient machinery and training for stokers to promote greater efficiency. Shots of training. "A good stoker these days is smoke conscious." Smoke eliminating doors are demonstrated. Lots of shots of coal being shovelled and men at work in the stoking trade. Mechanical stoking. Lawson announces that there is now no longer any need for smoking chimneys.

    Reel 3. Various shots of "modern installations" - industry, technology, gas being used in a biscuit factory. Various shots of men at work using gas fuelled machines. Lawson speaks about "the other villain of the piece - the domestic chimney." Shots of an elderly woman putting coal on an open grate to heat food. C/Us of coal being put onto domestic fires. Various shots of smoggy terraced streets. Shots of the audience. C/U of "a housewife". Laboratory testing of the domestic fire - both coal and coke. Coke gives more heat and no smoke. Panning shot of coke. L/S of gas containers.

    C/Us of women using gas and coke in modern cooking appliances. C/Us of gas water heaters providing hot water for washing up. "efficiency, economy, cleanliness." Shots of various gas fires. Lawson stands on the stage talking of Manchester and Coventry's smoke free zones. He stands at a flip chart talking of how the zones work. The ideal is an entire city free of smoke. Panning shot of the audience hanging on his every word. "smoke has crept insidiously into our lives..." He talks of "not apathy but action".

    Rousing voice-over about "not reaching for the moon but asking that we might see the sun..." More shots of smoking chimneys. Children walking and playing in slum areas. Children sing on the soundtrack.

    End credits: The Gas Council gratefully acknowledges the co-operation of the following: Ministry of Fuel and Power, Fuel Research Station D.S.I.R., National Smoke Abatement Society.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:50:41:00 / 02:04:38:00

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