The Bright Fields

1962 , King's Lynn (Norfolk)

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Capt. Nicolson, harbourmaster at the port of King's Lynn, is interviewed about his duties and shipping conditions.

An extract from the episode `The Bright Fields' in the `Outlook' series. The film begins showing a long shot of a utility barge belonging to the Kings Lynn Conservancy Board as it sets out into the wash. The interviewer talks to Capt. Nicholson, the Harbourmaster, about his many duties. Apart from holding this post he is master of the utility barge, the Pilot master, he looks after the two pilot cutters, a steam tug and the harbour launch. He explains the general workings of the port. The utility barge is used for re-positioning the buoys and this is illustrated. Over a shot of a pilot vessel Capt. Nicholson explains about pilotage. The Kings Lynn pilot picks up boats up to 15 miles away. The pilot skipper can be no more than 40 years old. The Harbourmaster explains the advantages and the disadvantages of the Kings Lynn shipping channel. They have very good vision at low water but there is a good deal of movement of the sands. These can appear and disappear very quickly. Capt. Nicholson also explains that only the Calk Hall Channel is used by shipping now. The interviewer asks about the effect of fresh water. Recent bad weather had seen a swell of fresh water into the channel, bringing a high proportion of silt. This causes the channel to shift and also cuts into the sands. Capt. Nicholson and his crew demonstrate testing for salinity by hydrometer. Capt. Nicholson also talks about the flood protection scheme. He explains that the Western Barrier Wall was completed in 1957 and that the Western Training Wall will be completed the year after this interview took place.


Flood defences; Harbourmasters; Pilotage


The Bright Fields

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