Film ID:
YFA 1034



Visitor Tabs


This is a film of the Calder & Hebble Canal during the winter of 1947.  There is footage of the canal frozen as well as extreme flooding which occurred after the thaw.  Barges, some horse-drawn, are try to make their way along the frozen canal using various means, such as men breaking the ice with poles from the edge of a barge and by rocking a barge from side to side. The canal has flood-damaged banks and locks, and a factory area is flooded.

The film begins with a barge being pulled along a canal by horses on a towpath.  Several barges are trying to make their way along a frozen canal.  One barge is negotiating its way by zigzagging slalom style.  Another has men breaking the ice using long poles, while a man pulls the barge by a rope as he walks along the towpath.  Another barge has a large number of men on board swaying the barge from side to side.  Another is being pulled by a line of men on the towpath, while men on board use poles.  The canal is covered in broken pieces of ice.  The barge passes through a lock with difficulty.

The film switches to show the canal severely flooded and with parts of the canal bank having broken off.  A dredger is clearing the debris from the canal.  Parts of a building have fallen into the canal.  This is followed by a dark passage of film where it is difficult to make out what is being shown, possibly a barge passing under some kind of steel structure.  It proceeds along the canal which now has an extremely high water level.  At one point there is an area of factories which are all flooded, with a crane stood half deep in water and barrels and other debris floating on top of the water. 

Later in the year the flooding has eased, and a group of men in suits and ties taking a ride on a working barge, one of the men with a pint of beer.  Another one of the men, smoking a pipe, uses a piece of timber to open the gate.  As a workman takes over, the man relieves himself at the side of the canal, and the film comes to an end.