Film ID:
NEFA 18481



Visitor Tabs


This promotional film was produced by Strathclyde Films for the Hardy Brothers of Alnwick and London, a famous family business that manufactured and sold fishing equipment in Alnwick, near the Scottish border. The film offers instruction in the art of fly fishing and casting, demonstrated by Ian Blackburn, a casting champion, and James Hardy, the grandson of the founders of the company, and Company Director at this time. The craft of making quality fishing rods from bamboo cane at the Hardy factory in Alnwick is then recorded in detail.

The film opens with a reflection in water of a man fly fishing. The camera then focuses on a fishing fly floating on the surface of the water. General view of a shallow river with two men fishing on the far bank.

Title: To Cane a Trout. A House of Hardy Film (over picture)

In the distance, the two fishermen wade across a shallow river together (possibly the River Aln). A brisk travelling shot follows (walking) through trees on the bank of the river. Various shots record a fisherman (“Ian Blackburn, a casting champion”) angling, casting off with a fly rod and reel, and netting a trout. A step by step guide to good fly fishing techniques follows, demonstrated by the fisherman. Another fisherman, James (“Jim”) Hardy, unzips his cane rod on the bank of the river.

The scene shifts to the factory of the Hardy Brothers of Alnwick where a worker is selecting lengths of Tonkin bamboo cane from China, maturing on shelves in a store room, used to make the firm’s speciality rods. The shaping process begins. He carries some of the bamboo canes into a workshop where he measures and marks off the cane, matching sections. He then reduces the sections to shorter lengths using a bench saw, and slices the bamboo into half sections. Another worker cuts the bamboo into three. These will be used to form a hexagonal configuration in the making of a rod.

The next sections continue to run through the making of a high quality fishing rod and include many close-up shots. Another male worker, with long hair, prepares to bring the different sections together. The knots on the cane are linished away and the cane is carefully sanded on a belt sander. On another machine the sections are trimmed to a triangular shape. A worker then places the cane into an oven where it is tempered. At Hardy’s this process is called roasting.  The cane receives a final tapering by machine.

A skilled craftsman planes, or feathers, the apex of the triangle of the cane rod pieces. Another worker applies glue to a workbench to stop the cane sections moving around as they are worked on. Three sections are then married together with an application of glue, liberally painted on. The rod is then fed through a machine, which laces cord mechanically around the wet sections of the entire length until the glue is dried.

The rod returns to a craftsman who checks that the sections are forming a straight and perfect hexagon throughout the full length of the rod, whilst the glue is still wet. He then hangs the rod in a drying cupboard with other new rod sections. Close-up of a 60 watt bulb at the bottom of the cabinet, the only source of heat.

Once dry, a section is hand sanded to remove the glue, a cleaning and polishing process.  The thickness of the rod is measured precisely by a micrometre. Close-up of the hand sawing of a section into the correct length. In preparation for the joining of the sections to make the rod, slivers of wood are glued to the end to strengthen the joint. Cord is would around by hand to hold them in place. The craftsman then places cork sleeve onto the rod, gluing them and bracing them together to create the handle. He then shapes the handle on a turning lathe. A blade (an adapted old steel razor) is used to pare away the cork. The cork is carefully hand sanded while on the lathe.

Portrait and close-up shots of a craftswoman at work, binding on the end of a rod and on a rod ring. She checks the rings for alignment.

A man then makes a final inspection of all the completed fishing rods, stacked upright in stands, before they leave the factory. He fits a dummy reel to check the alignment. A woman also completes an inspection of a rod.

Back on a river bank (possibly the River Aln), Jim Hardy takes a fishing rod out of its cover and connects two sections and attaches the reel. He threads the line onto the rod. He then attaches a fly on the line (a Dark Sedge trout fly pattern). Hardy walks through the undergrowth to the water’s edge and commences fishing, wading in wearing wellington boots. He casts off with no luck. He casts again, and a third time. Portrait shot of Jim Hardy. He catches a small trout and lets it go. Downriver, Ian Blackburn (?) casts off from the river bank and hooks a fish, a trout. He nets the fish.

A final sequence of shots again illustrates good and bad fly fishing technique with Ian Blackburn (?) demonstrating.

The two fishermen wander back home along a high river bank.

Credit: Filmed by Peter Leddy (over picture)

Credit: Produced by Strathclyde Films (over picture)

Title: The End A House of Hardy Film (over picture)