Film ID:
YFA 265



Visitor Tabs


This is a public information film informing householders about the new Clean Air Act which came into force in 1956.  The film puts forward the case for the need to cut down on smoke pollution.  It explains the requirements and entitlements of the Act, as well as the benefits of using electricity, with examples from the home of a model family.

The film begins showing factory chimneys belching out smoke in an industrial landscape full of terraced housing.

Title – No Barrier To The Sun

A man returns home and warms himself in front of an open coal fire.  Then someone shovels coal into a furnace, and there are more chimneys and a steam locomotive pouring out smoke as the narrator explains the consequences of using coal in causing a polluted atmosphere.  A map of Britain shows the areas where this problem was worst.   There are examples of how the smoke blackens buildings and statues as well as dirtying clothes and inside the home.  It is claimed that the annual cost of this pollution is £150 million.  The commentary also points out the cost in water and food pollution, as well as on health through breathing it in.  Images of Scarborough are then shown as an example of where we can breathe cleaner air.  A woman runs along the beach where also children go on pony rides.

The pollution-free images of Scarborough are in stark contrast with more images of smoke from a town.  Shoppers are shown at a market, including women with prams.  The commentary then goes on to talk specifically about the 1956 Clean Air Act.  As smoke comes out of domestic chimneys, it is asserted that this produces half of all smoke.  A couple walk home arm-in-arm, and the film shows maps of the areas of Bradford, Barnsley, Dewsbury and Sheffield that are coming under the Act.   The couple arrive home to their coal fire, and the narrator explains the consequences of the Act for replacing these fires.  Some alternative electric heaters are shown.

A postman arrives, delivering notice of the need to convert the coal burning grate.  A woman reads the letter.  There is a couple who arrive home to switch on their electric heater, using a timer to control when it comes on.  A woman is then shown the “dirty job of cleaning out the ashes”.  The narrator explains that a grant is available for conversion, and that if building a new house, floor heating is available. This is shown being laid.  Examples of heating are shown in the different rooms in the house, including in the bathroom, with electric storage heaters, and in the kitchen where food is being prepared.  A woman sets the timer on her electric oven, and works a top loading washing machine with an electric mangle, and electric clothes dryer.  Other electric items are shown, including a hoover, a radiator, an electric blanket, a teasmade, a hair dryer, a shaver, an iron and a train set.
The film then switches to show children collecting hockey sticks at school as a demonstration of the benefits of clean air.  A man picks flowers while new flats are shown being constructed.

End notes – The staff at our local electricity service centre will be pleased to help and advise you about using electricity in Smoke Control Areas.

A Yorkshire Electricity Board film.