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Fenlands U rating

Fascinating documentary about the management of the East Anglian Fens, an intricate network of 17th-century waterways carved through peat bogs.

Government sponsored film 1945 17 mins


This fascinating documentary charts the management of the East Anglian Fens by the Fenland watermen. Carved through ominous peat bogs in the 17th century, the waterways are a complex network of channels used to irrigate local farmland. The fact that much of the Fenlands are below sea level makes them extremely challenging to maintain.

The watermen’s heroic efforts are intricately documented by director Ken Annakin (Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines) a once unheralded director who in recent times has received more recognition and who began his filmmaking career with several non-fiction shorts like this one. Fenlands is also available on the BFI DVD collection Land of Promise: The British Documentary Movement 1930-1950. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.