Film ID:
NEFA 13408

KIELDER WATER 1968 - 1982


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Sponsored by Norhumbrian Water, this film by Turners Film & Video records the Kielder reservoir construction project in all its stages, from mapping the area by plane to the final impounding. The scheme was conceived in the mid 1960s. The reservoir was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1982.

The film opens with aerial shots of the Kielder area, shots of the rail line linking Hexham with Newcastleton to Kielder viaduct.

Interview with public house landlady whose two brothers were on the first team who began planting for the Forrestry Commission in the 1920s.

Title: Kielder Water 1968 - 1982

There are further shots of the area. Rugby players are in action on a snowy playing field.

A graph shows the water available in the area and future needs for industry. A sequence of shots show petro-chemical plant, interior shots of industrial plant and uses of water in the home.

A plane engaged on a survey maps the Kielder area. A sequence of shots records rural scenes, endangered by the coming Kielder reservoir.

A map shows the distribution of rivers and rain distribution in the Tyne and Wear and Tees area. Scenes of the rivers and reservoir follow, with sailing activities.

Vox pops with a resident and pub landlady follow, one against the reservoir as they had to move from their homes as they would be submerged, and one undecided when a public enquiry was held in 1972.

As the Kielder Water Order came into operation in 1974, trees are felled preparing for the project. Construction begins on the new North Tyne road to replace the original road on the valley floor.

In the next scene filmed in a marquee, an inaugural ceremony takes place in 1976 with guest, the Right Honourable George Thompson, the EEC Commissioner for regional development. A plaque is unveiled.

There are shots of the construction site at a smaller reservoir and dam in the valley at Bakethin. Aerial and medium shots of work on the Kielder dam and culvert for pipe. A valve tower is in the early stages of construction. Men work on construction in bad weather. The dam is excavated to firm foundations. Bulldozers and rollers are in operation.

A graphic illustrates the process of filling in of embankments.

Bulldozers and dump trucks move boulder clay, gravel, and winstone. Sheepsfoot rollers conpact clay for the dam.

There are various shots of thr River Tyne flowing towards Riding Mill, the largest pumping station in the country. There are overhead and wide angle shots of construction of a weir. The pipeline, the Tyne-Tees Tunnel, is under construction. Workers walk through the darkened tunnel, through which water flows from the Tees to a tank at Letch House.

The next sequence records the drilling and blasting of the tunnel with underground shots. Tunneling machines are shown constructing the tunnel from the Derwent to the Tees.

General shots of the landscape around the reservoir; tunnel works; dump trucks in the snow during winter months when work stopped; tunnel engineering and cheers as breakthroughs occur, with one worker handing another a bottle of drink as tunnels meet. There are aerial shots of the site of the dam, now earth filled.

The topping out ceremony takes place.

There are more shots of the reservoir work in progress. Trees are felled, walls and houses demolished, in preparation for the filling of the reservoir in the valley floor.

The last new houses are under construction for uprooted families in the area.

A sequence of different shots record the final stages of the dam building, with dam and stilling basin, now concrete lined. Aerial shots of the rivers that are full to overflowing.

On December 15th 1980, the dam is ready to impact. A ceremony takes place and a speech is made at the site. A mass of water floods through the tunnel. The reservoir begins to fill with water.

Various overhead and aerial shots show the reservoir landscape. There is a time lapse sequence on the volume of water rising in the reservoir, followed by various vistas of the reservoir, including Riding Mill. There is a flyover of the reservoir in the early evening.

The official opening ceremony takes place on the 26 May 1982, with shots of the crowd, an overhead zoom shot of HM Queen Elizabeth making a speech and declaring the scheme open, with VIP guests in attendance. Prince Phillip sits with other guests. Photographers take pictures of the ceremony. The curtains part on the commemoration plaque. The Queen and Prince Philip are walked round the reservoir. Huge volumes of water flood into the reservoir.

A sequence of shots record recreation, such as sailing and fishing, that takes place at the reservoir. Aerial shots of the Kielder landscape follow.

Credit: A Production for Northumbrian Water
Credit: By Turners Film & Video Production
Credit: Narrator. John Woodvine