Wartime transport shortages gave Britain’s canals an extra lease of life. By the late 1940s canals had a legacy of neglect and decline to overcome. The purpose of this film was to show that inland waterways could have a commercial future moving bulk low cost per ton loads at modest cost.
As a result the camera captured life on the canals about the time commercial traffic was seriously falling off. A generous budget meant that the cameraman captured all types of craft from the Duke of Bridgewater’s underground canals in Dudley to trains of tug hauled lighters on the Trent. . Transhipping loads at Brentford and Sharpness, cargos include bulk oil, bagged flour, salt, scrap, and esparto grass for paper making. To make the point the film probably glossed over some of the disadvantages of water transport.
As an interesting thought two modern articulated lorries could carry as much as any of the smaller narrow boats. . While delivery would have taken much longer I suspect much less fuel was needed! This is one of those films where using the frame freeze will often reveal a wealth of detail in the background. An ideal choice for anyone with an interest in commercial inland waterways. Black and White 20 minutes.
Apparently this film was also issued as a cinema feature on 35mm as I have seen that footage is available from it to commercial users.