Film ID: YFA 5363 Video of ESHOLT SEWAGE WORKS 1947 Visitor TabsDescription This is a film made by Bradford Corporation for Yorkshire Water. Using diagrams and intertitles, it provides a detailed description of the plant and its processes, as well as the production of by-products such as soap and grease. Title – City of Bradford Corporation Undertakings. Title – Esholt Sewage Works Title – Photographed in Natural Colour by F G Dewhirst, A R P S. The film begins looking down onto Esholt Sewage Works from an aircraft, followed by a diagram of the works. Intertitle – The mouth of the tunnel sewer which conveys sewage from Bradford. It is 10ft in diameter and nearly 3 miles long, and can discharge at the rate of 200 million gallons a day. The entrance to the tunnel is shown. A man takes a sample from the sewage works and examines it. The exterior of the works are shown. Intertitle – A recorder house where the quantity of sewage is measured. Two men look over the works from a bridge. A steam crane arrives with what looks like a large metal wrecking ball. This is lowered into the water and manipulated by workmen with poles. Intertitle – Syphon pipes leading to the precipitation tanks and sulphuric acid plant across the valley. The pipes are shown. Intertitle – View across the valley looking towards the tunnel mouth. There is a diagram of the plant followed by a look at the pipes. Intertitle – The sewage flows into acid mixing tanks. The acid mixing tank is shown, and two men haul out the metal ball with a hand crane and a pole. A tankard lorry is pumping acid into the sewage tank. Intertitle – Primary Precipitation tanks, where the ‘cracked’ grease and sludge settle out. The tanks are shown. Intertitle – Sewage from several areas outside the city is precipitated at Esholt Sewage from Yeadon, Guisely and Baildon enters the secondary precipitation tanks. This is shown before a man takes a sample and holds it up for the camera. Intertitle – Bacterial filters cover an area of 54 acres and are filled with 265,000 tons of Yorkshire coal. This is shown on a diagram and in actuality. Intertitle – The water wheel drives the distributors which spray the liquor onto the filters. This is shown. Intertitle – Crisis. In February 1947, coal from the filter beds was made available to industry. Coal is being loaded onto lorries. Intertitle – Humus Tanks, where fine sludge is removed from the filter effluent. This is shown in a diagram and in actuality. Intertitle – Clarification Lakes, the last stage of the sewage purification process. A man sits on a bench overlooking the lakes. With the aid of a fishing net, another man collects some fish from the lake and puts them into a small fish tank. Water passes over the filters. Another man collects a sample of water and compares them with two other samples from a previous stage of the process. Intertitle – The purified effluent flows into the River Aire. This is shown. Intertitle – Sewage Works Laboratory. A man in the laboratory mixes chemicals in glass containers. There is a row of flaks being used for experiments. A laboratory worker peers into a microscope. Intertitle – The film so far has shown how the sewage is purified. We now turn to the recovery and processing of by-products. There is a diagram of the process, followed by a view of the area surrounding the works. Inside a workman is adjusting the filters as hot water emerges at the other end. Intertitle – Wagons loaded with press-cake leaving the Press House for the maturing grounds. After 6 to 12 months it is ground up into organic fertiliser. A steam engine emerges from the works pulling a train of two-wheeled wagons loaded with fertiliser. A crane loads other wagons. Intertitle – the works locomotive brings pressed sludge cake for grinding into powdered fertiliser. A locomotive moves directly towards the camera, and sludge is tipped out of the wagons. Intertitle – Works sidings on main LMS line at Apperley viaduct, where the rail traffic is handled. The wagons are propelled onto the line by a steam engine and left, with the shunter returning the points as the engine leaves. A coal train passes followed by a passenger train. A railway worker labels one of the wagons. There is an exterior shot of a building, presumably the Grease House. Intertitle – Interior of Grease House, where crude grease is processed. A workman pokes a stick into a vat of boiling liquid. Another workman fills up a barrel from a large tank, which is then weighed and labelled. Outside a man stands on top of a locomotive as a pipe transfers grease into a tank. The plate on the tank reads ‘For the conveyance of wool fat, F W Cotton’. Intertitle – Grease for Buenos Ayres A stack of barrels is shown. Intertitle – Grease for the USA being loaded onto lorries. Men load barrels onto lorries before they drive off. Intertitle – The Soap Plant, where grease is processed into industrial soap. The Soap Plant is shown with two men leaving. Inside liquid is coming out of a pipe. A man pours a white substance into a tub, and another sorts out material as it passes on a conveyor belt. He holds up a sheet of black material for the camera. Black material is shovelled into a sack. Intertitle – Solvent Extraction Plant, where purified soap and drying oils for paint are produced. This is shown on the outside. Inside workmen are busy moving barrels, and shovelling black material through various stages of the process. At the end it is collected into sacks and weighed. White powder is poured into a metal bin. A man turns a lever to allow a black liquid to pour out of a pipe into a bucket. Intertitle – Production of specialised paint materials. A sack of material is poured into a large tank which is filled with boiling water and stirred by a pump. Intertitle – Grease Research Laboratory. A man is mixing liquids in a glass container. Then samples of all the by-products on displayed and labelled, giving the uses, such as the various types of grease. Intertitle – Esholt Hall, the offices of the department. The outside of the hall are shown, in pleasant grounds and gardens. Title – The End Context In the wake of the great boost given to the idea of public services by the war, there was also a continuing desire to provide public information. Whereas the work of our public utilities is normally taken for granted, this film explains what happened to our sewage in the post-war years, and the many by-products that came out of it. Helped by wonderful film of archaic railway wagons and steam driven cranes, who would have thought that sewage could make such an intriguing subject? This film is one of a large collection of films sponsored by Yorkshire Water to explain the work that they do, ranging from the 1930s through to the 1980s – this film has a follow up one with more on sewage by-products. It was common, especially in the decades after the war, for public organisations to make films such as these, which by and large avoid any gross self-publicising or marketing, although many commercial businesses also made similar films. It isn’t entirely clear who these films would have been for as they would not have been widely shown to the general public; but they are very useful in giving an account of the work that these organisations did, regardless of whether they had any democratic intent.