Thursday, January 16, 2020

A 1937 film on the dangers of pollution from burning coal

It's a while since we have looked at the BFI's Britain on Film collection, but if you click on the iamge above you will be taken to a fascinating 1937 film on coal pollution.

The blurb for The Smoke Menace on the BFI site runs:
Smog was the deadly downside of Britain's industrial might, as this powerful and revealing documentary spells out. In 1937, coal was Britain's lifeblood; it fuelled her industry and heated most homes. 
But coal was wasteful and dirty, and it had an unpleasant, even lethal by-product. Smog wasn't just nasty and disruptive, it took its toll on buildings, the economy, child development and adult health - and it was a killer, claiming scores of lives every year. 
By 1937, the battle against smog was already being waged: the film points to processing technology to convert raw coal into oil or smokeless fuel, the increasing use of cleaner energy from gas and electricity, and improved housing. 
But another 15 years of periodic outbreaks of smog still lay ahead, before London's Great Smog of 1952 finally spurred Parliament into action in the form of the Clean Air Act of 1956.


A Rambling Ducky said...

In 1924 Lloyd George's "Coal and Power" report proposed smoke abatement by extensive electrification, rationalisation and improvement of power stations, conversion of coal to liquid fuels, etc.

Tom Barney said...

"...Huge plate-glass windows, walls absorbing noise,
Where the smoke nuisance is utterly abated,
And all the furniture is chromium-plated."