Film ID:
NEFA 8763



Visitor Tabs


ICI Billingham Film Unit cine magazine of two features. The first item, 'Rope', follows preparations and the performance of the ICI Billingham Synthonia Players’ latest production of the 1920s play ‘Rope’ written by Patrick Hamilton. 'The Billingham Story (5) The Sulphate Plant' is a journey through the Billingham factory production of ammonia of sulphate. Includes men and women working at the packing production line, sewing up hessian sacks of ammonia of sulphate.


Just Billingham No.16 November 1947

Commentary spoken by John Snagge

The film opens with a close-up shot of a poster promoting the Symphonia Players’ latest production ‘Rope’ to be performed at Newton Hall, Norton, 29th October to 1st November.

Various backstage scenes follow of the stage crew completing the stage sets on the opening night. Members of the cast are then shown applying make-up, followed by shots of the sound effects crew. Food and drink is assembled by women, described as the responsibility of ‘props’.

The cue for action begins as the producer gives a last minute pep talk to the cast backstage. The stage curtain is closed before the production goes on stage. The play then begins and part of the performance is shown, along with a commentary.

The Billingham Story (5)
The Sulphate Plant

Just Billingham No. 16

Overhead shots depict a complex haulage system of bridges, cars and suspension beams. The voiceover informs the viewer that this is the result of a long process of extracting raw materials for ammonium sulphate which began in the grinding plant, ‘hundreds of feet below the factory.’

Stone is crushed and weighed along with shots of rotary cylindrical milling machines, presumably operating in the grinding plant. As the camera pans up, long conduits and metal pipes used to remove impurities in the extraction plant are visible. A montage of steel conveyers then illustrates the raw material sent to the reaction plant, where it will combine with carbonated ammonia liqueur.

Enormous stop tanks and pipe bridges feature in the next scene where carbon dioxide is filtered to carbonators and combines with the liqueur to form a solution of ammonia carbonate. This is then depicted dripping down into a vat in the reaction plant where it is mixed in vessels.

Animated graphics depict the chemical reaction in a vessel at the molecular level and explain why certain ingredients are necessary. Shots of chalk being separated in a large mechanical apparatus are then shown to illustrate the crystallisation of ammonia sulphate and more stages of filtration and heating.Shots of workers checking the processes and operating machinery are included.

The final stage of production and preparation for market is recorded: a male and female worker sew up hessian sacks of ammonia of sulphate on the packing production line.

Title: A Billingham Film

The End