Film ID:
NEFA 8766



Visitor Tabs


Billingham Film Unit cine magazine single feature about the systems, buildings, equipment, and men who operate the Commercial Works section.

Title: Just Billingham Number 19
Produced by the Billingham Film Unit
Sound by United Motion Pictures

Title: This is a story about trading, a story of moving and storing and packing, a story beginning and ending in distant places.

Title: The Story of Commercial Works

A man dials a number on a square-based Bakelite rotary telephone. The shot fades away and a ship can be seen steaming on the sea.

A message is typed on a typewriter: “Nitrite Belgium most urgently required / When do you ship”

A steam locomotive pulls a train of goods wagons over a tunnel. Rows of tall telegraph poles with numerous cables attached stretch to the horizon. A truck approaches. A convoy of liquid-carrying lorries makes its way along an open dual carriageway road.

Commentary: “The story of commercial works is a story of ships and trains and lorries”.

A Shift Superintendent, surrounded by piles of papers, signs a document, then begins to explain how the various elements of Commercial Works cooperate. He continues to narrate as views of the exterior and interior of the Main Stores unfold. Close-ups of rubber gloves, leather boots, towelling, safety goggles, acid-proof suits, overalls, rubber boots with Dunlop tags hanging off them, and stationary. Rows and rows of chemicals line the shelves.

200 miles of tubes are stacked up. A worker passes by carrying some tubes on his shoulder. There are huge piles of valves; a whole store building is taken up by electric motors. A girder-framed overhead crane moves bales of bags around the Bag Store. At the Cable Dump, near the North Gate, huge spools of cables sit idle. Mountains of coal fill the Coal and Coke Dumps at Billingham Bottoms.

A lorry is parked outside a potash silo.

Boxes of Cosmos Lamps are unloaded.

Montage of the different roles performed by ICI Commercial Works staff: Store Keepers, Off loaders, Stores Checkers, Stock Takers, Dispatch Clerks, and Seamstresses. The Stores Delivery Service makes deliveries around the site. Close-up of a Requisition Document.

There are overhead views of fertiliser bags being filled and sewn shut as they move along a conveyor belt. Unprinted bags are run through a roller-printing system. Two men catch filled bags on their shoulders and stack them up on the floor.

A train load of fertiliser is hauled by train away from a silo. Bagged urea, on route to America, is hauled away on a lorry. Long canisters of ammonia are loaded up for transport to Malaysia for the rubber industry. Butane gas is unloaded from a lorry. Barrels of ammonium nitrate are moved by a chain hoist. Men work an array of machines at the Drum Plant in the manufacture of barrels where long sheets of metal are bent, shaped, sealed, and closed. A young man piles newly-produced empty barrels high over head.

The narrator pauses, retrieves a cigarette from a silver case and lights up.

Close-up of a wristwatch reading 10:35.

Views of the Billingham Reach wharf. The transporter crane is unloading. The ship Celebes sits in dock.

Road vehicles make deliveries around the factory site. Shots of ICI long distance deliveries passing through countryside and villages: Yarm town centre is recognisable. In the garage, a team of mechanics check over a lorry.

The narrator describes the internal railway system with the aid of a wall chart. A sream train arrives at the Locomotive Repair Shop where six others are being worked on. A travelling shot from the front of a steam train passing through the East Grid marshalling yard follows. A signal changes. A shunter, a man with a pole, disconnects and reconnects wagons on the train. A train pulls into the site’s weigh bridge.

The Transport Manager is holding one of his daily meetings.

A giant chalkboard records the progress of the complex transport plan.

Close-up of a glass ashtray inside a model Firestone tyre.

Credit: A Billingham Film
End Title: The End