Filming our History: Church Bells and Water Pumps by Ken Pratt and Geoff Partridge

Wednesday 03 May 2017
20:00 to 22:00


Recently produced and highly instructive films of particular local interest will form the basis of a presentation at the next meeting of the South Woodham Ferrers Local History Society. Two of the Local History Society’s members, Ken Pratt and Geoff Partridge, are also members of South Essex Film Makers and will be introducing and showing three films in which they have been involved in their filming, producing, directing and research capacities.


Two of these films depict the specialist repair of bells at the churches of St Mary’s, Prittlewell and St Chad’s, Basildon, including some fascinating coverage of the casting and tuning of a new bell at Whitechapel Bell Foundry, a process of particular historic interest as it has remained virtually unchanged for centuries.


The third film is entitled ‘Marshall’ – the name given to a surviving steam-powered water pump now on display in the Langford Museum of Power near Maldon. This huge machine, technically described as an ‘inverted vertical’ triple expansion steam pumping engine, was once used to pump water from the River Blackwater at Langford to provide water for Southend-on-Sea. Incidentally, residents of Eastbridge Road in South Woodham Ferrers discovered that Marshall’s present-day successor was rather too efficient when the large main it was pressurising fractured with disastrous results, delivering Southend’s drinking water to, and over, their doorsteps in February 2012. This film shows how Marshall was saved, depicts other historic engines at the museum and outlines future plans for the museum.


The diverse subjects of these films - church bells and water pumps – are surprisingly photogenic and lend themselves beautifully to the filmmakers’ art. Some stunning results are produced.

Contact John Frankland
01245 321518
Champions Manor Hall Community Centre,
Hullbridge Road,
South Woodham Ferrers
(view map)
Cost Free for members of Society, Visitors welcome entry fee £3.00