This film is part of Free

Crystal Clear

A cheery public relations film, laced with English romanticism, illustrates the long journey of local water from scenic Burnhope Reservoir to a Sunderland tap.

Industry sponsored film 1959 18 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


Water, water every where from the Sunderland shipyards to the shores of the Burnhope Reservoir in Weardale. But not a drop from Mrs Greens taps. A little drama is skilfully blended with hard information about the hidden work of water utilities, as disgruntled customer Mrs Green travels to beautiful sites such as the steam-driven Ryhope Pumping Station with a dapper gent from the Sunderland and South Shields Water Board.

Enabled by an Act of Parliament in 1852, the Sunderland and South Shields Water Company was created following concern over cholera outbreaks in overcrowded Sunderland slums, and investigations into profiteering by Town Council members, also shareholders in the local utility companies. The Derwent Reservoir (publicised in this film) opened in 1967, and the Ryhope Pumping Station was subsequently closed and is now a Grade II listed building and museum. When Crystal Clear was released in 1959, Britain, perhaps coincidentally, was suffering from the worst drought on record.