VIDEO: ‘Forgotten’ waterways under Sheffield explored

Salt Street Production's latest film LOW LINE shot beneath the city of Sheffield, in the huge forgotten storm drains that lie under the city. Built by the Victorians and left forgotten until now.  We took two modern day Sheffield wakeboarders to rediscover what is known as the Megatron.
Salt Street Production's latest film LOW LINE shot beneath the city of Sheffield, in the huge forgotten storm drains that lie under the city. Built by the Victorians and left forgotten until now. We took two modern day Sheffield wakeboarders to rediscover what is known as the Megatron.
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Forgotten waterways underneath Sheffield have been explored in a new action sports film.

The labyrinth of storm drains under the city, known as the Megatron, are surveyed in the new film Beneath Sheffield Streets.

In the film, by Sheffield company Low Line, extreme sports athletes Josh Tomlinson and Brad Beech are captured riding the waterways on a board, towed by a boat, and performing tricks.

Director Edward Birch said: “We are always on the look out for stunning and original locations. When we first heard rumours of an underground giant river complex under the city we had to explore further.

“As Megatron it so embedded into the city of Sheffield we want to use riders similarly devoted to the Sheffield wakeboarding scene.”

Built by the Victorians in the 1860s, the brick archways of the storm drain system were designed to prevent the developing city from flooding and disrupting the fast-growing steel industry.

Brad Beech rides the waterways underneath Sheffield

Brad Beech rides the waterways underneath Sheffield

But as the tunnels are dark and cramped, filming was not easy – especially lighting the shots.

Edward said: “The first and biggest challenge was lighting, as, being underground, there was no natural light and being flooded full of water we could not use a generator to power the huge lighting equipment.”

Instead, the team opted for 50-watt, battery powered LED lights which were placed around the tunnels.

To film the action, they used ‘small but effective’ hand-held cameras and drones which had to be controlled manually as there was no GPS signal available.

Josh Tomlinton rides the waters deep underneath Sheffield

Josh Tomlinton rides the waters deep underneath Sheffield

But one thing the team didn’t have to fear was dirty, unsafe water in the drains.

Edward said: “The storm drains are only used for flood water - sewage is not allowed to be released into the river system and in the 1960s a sewage plant was built to confirm this.”

In total the team had one ‘recce’ day, one practice and construction day and finally a filming day.

“We have many awesome location ideas to come,” Edward promised.

Josh Tomlinton rides the waters deep underneath Sheffield

Josh Tomlinton rides the waters deep underneath Sheffield

Visit vimeo.com to watch a clip or www.salt-street.com for details.