Film ID:
NEFA 12938



Visitor Tabs


A promotional film made by Northumbria Films for the Sunderland and South Shields Water Company. The film follows a Mrs Green whose water supply is cut of due to a broken pipe. She and her daughter visits the companies office in Sunderland and are taken a tour of the Burnhope Reservoir and Ryhope Pumping Station to show the work the company does to make sure she gets ‘crystal clear’ water through her taps.   

Title: Northumbria Films present

Title: Crystal Clear

Title: The Story of the Sunderland and South Shields Water Company

Credit: Camera Peter Wallace. Commentary written and spoken by Gillian Short

Credit: Directed by Derek Short

The film opens on a view of a beach. There follows a view of Marsden Rock at South Shields. The film cuts to a view of the River Wear showing the Wearmouth and Monkweamouth Bridges in the distance. A number of ships are moored along a number of nearby quaysides.

A tugboat heads downstream and passes a crane on one side of the river and warehouses on the other. General view of the mouth of the Wear with small steam ships moored in the water on the nearside of the river and a passenger ferry moored at a quayside on the other. Looking downstream cranes along the quayside dominate the skyline beside a number of small warehouses and factory buildings.

The film cuts to show a woman, identified by the narrator as Mrs Green, coming home from shopping, opening and walking through her garden gate towards her home. She is wearing a pink rain-coat; a packet of Corn Flakes sticks out of her basket.

Water starts coming up through paving slabs from a burst pipe. This causes the pavement slabs to rise up and water to gush out. Inside Mrs Green’s house a young girl attempts to fill a kettle with water from the kitchen sick. There is no water.

Water sprays into air from a broken pipe laid out in trench in the ground beside a brick wall. In the background a man can be seen controlling the water flow using a long rod. Back inside the house there is a close up of the kitchen tap being turned and no water coming out.      

A Sunderland & South Shields Water Company Morris Minor repair van drives along a road. A Water Inspector approaches and rings the bell on a door.  Mrs Green appears in a pinafore and begins to berating the Inspector. They are seen speaking.

The film cuts to show Mrs Green and her daughter walk along John Street in Sunderland towards the head office of the Sunderland and South Shields Water Company. They enter the building. The film cuts an office where Mrs Green and her daughter are seen speaking with a man behind a desk.

The film cuts to show the doors of a fire station opening and two Sunderland Fire Brigade engines come out. The camera follows the second long ladder appliance as it comes out of the station and drives away along a road. A number of firemen hang from the side of the tender.

The film cuts to show smoke coming out of a terraced house. The first fire engine pulls up outside and firemen pull the hoses from the engine towards the burning building. Looking inside the front door the stairs can be seen fully alight. Fire burns behind one of the upstairs windows. General views showing the firemen spraying water onto the fire from hoses and it slowly being put out.

Through the Monkwearmouth Bridge a view of the cooling tower at Sunderland Power Station. The film cuts to the base of a cooling tower where water pours into a gully. A young boy jumps from the top board into a swimming pool. General views of people swimming and enjoying the pool. The film cuts to a cargo ship moored along a quayside. It then cuts to show someone washing dishes in a sink using a small washing up mop. A tea-towel is put through an ‘Acme’ roller-mangle; water drips down the side. The film cuts to an exterior view of a launderette. Inside a woman takes her washing from a machine and puts it into a basket.

Back in the office of Mrs Green and her daughter continues to listen to the man from the Sunderland and South Shields Water Company speaking.  They are then seen coming out of the office building and getting into a car (Reg: JBR 622) parked in the street beside a bus stop. A Sunderland Corporation bus pulls up behind the car as it drive away.

The film cuts to an overhead view of the dam at Burnhope Reservoir. The car is seen coming across the dam and parking beside the reservoir tower. They all get out of the car and stand by a wall looking out across the water. General views around the reservoir.

The film cuts to an exterior view of the filter house which is built in the valley below the reservoir. Inside a workman in white overalls works on one a number of mechanical filters. Mrs Green, her daughter and the man comes through a set of doors into the room and the workman comes over to greet them. There is a view of a machine that pumps chemicals into water. Behind each pump is a large metal pipe. The workman walks over to a set of controls and is seen pulling a number of levers to help wash the sand that is used in the filtration process. Through a glass tube sandy water is seen flowing. Above it a small metal plaque reads ‘Battery 3’. There is view of a large ‘Water Flow’ dial with the hand slowly moving. Outside dirty-coloured water pours out of a pipe. Back inside the filter house a mechanical measuring device marks a piece of paper wrapped around a cylinder. Back outside two large pipes cross over a small stream. Water pours out of pipe possibly into the reservoir.

On the outskirts of a housing development a caterpillar-tracked digger moves across a piece of land being prepared for new houses. A Sunderland and South Shields Water Company JCB digger helps to dig a trench in the ground. A second digger digs a trench in a pathway beside a house. Laid out on a wooden stand a man places a section of cast iron piping inside another. General views show the piped being sealed with molten lead. Using ropes two men lower the sealed pipe into the trench. A hydraulic boring machine is used to dig under a road. The steel rods are seen coming through the earth on the other side of the road. The new pipe is attached to the rod which then pulls them back under the road. A man connects the new pipe to the mains supply by drilling a hole in the mains pipe and attached the new pipe which he secures in place with bolts.

A Sunderland and South Shields Water Company van pulls up along a road and the two Inspectors inside get out. Using a stethoscope attached to a long needle one of the Inspectors pokes the grass next to the road listen for the sound of escaping water. The second Inspector is seen using a detector to find the leaking mains pipe. The two Inspectors attach a stand-pipe to a fire-hydrant. Water is seen coming out of the stand-pipe and is looked at intently by one of the Inspectors who measures  water pressure and rate of flow on a gauge. The Inspectors load their equipment back into the rear of the van (Reg: GR 980) and drive away.

The camera pans down the long chimney at the Ryhope Pumping Station as a car draws up outside. Mrs Green, her daughter and the man get out and walk up the stone steps into the pumping stations. Inside Mrs Green is shown the steam driven beam-engine at work. General views of the engine in action and the group walking around the pump room.

The film cuts to an explosion at the base of a large chimney which comes crashing to the ground. General views around the modern electric motor pumping station at Cleadon in South Shields. The camera pans down a ‘Venture Water Meter’. A door opens and Mrs Green, her daughter and the man walk into the Sunderland and South Shields Water Company sampling laboratory. They all stand around a woman in a white coat who is working on a sample. General views of the woman showing the group how they test water samples for purity and contamination.

Back in their kitchen the film shows Mrs Green’s daughter fill a kettle with water from the tap. The camera pans up from Burnhope Burn as it flows into the Burnhope Reservoir. The dam can be seen in the distance. The film ends with an overhead view of water flowing down a river, possibly the river Wear.

Title: The End