Steel on Film

With its glowing rivers of liquid metal and dazzling showers of sparks, steelmaking is the most colourfully cinematic of industries.

Steel is at the very heart of Britain's industrial story. At its peak, the industry employed millions, while its products were ubiquitous at home and exported worldwide. Steel - much of it British - provided "the brace and girder and strut and stay of every industrial economy on earth". By the dawn of the age of film, the British industry was already falling from its 19th century peak, but its influence was still felt in almost every aspect of British life. This collection of films, ranging across the 20th century and exploring steel's processes, products and workers, reminds us how central it has been to Britain and its people. This collection is supported by Community Union and The Eric Anker-Petersen Charity.

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Pattern for ProgressPattern for Progress

Industry sponsored film194842 mins Location: Ebbw Vale/Glyn Ebwy

The drama and spectacle of steelmaking at Ebbw Vale.

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Steel WindowsSteel Windows

Documentary19707 mins

A window on to a futuristic vision of concrete, glass and steel.

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Project SpearProject Spear

Industry sponsored film196431 mins

At Rotherham a revolution in steelmaking has human consequences.

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Consett SteelConsett Steel

Industry sponsored film196726 mins Location: Consett

Sparks fly in an industrial film that captures the exciting visual drama of steel production in Consett.

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The First Four YearsThe First Four Years

Industry sponsored film195142 minsSilent

An industrial epic plays out in steelmaking South Wales.

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End of a LineEnd of a Line

197513 minsSilent Location: Swindon

After a glorious history, Baldwin's iron and steelworks in Swindon, Staffordshire, faces closure.

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Design in SteelDesign in Steel

Documentary197324 mins

Artists, designers and engineers extol the virtues of steel.

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Furnaces of IndustryFurnaces of Industry

Documentary194011 mins

A patriotic look at British steelmaking.

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Workforce of Parkgate Iron and Steel Co., Rotherham (1901)Workforce of Parkgate Iron and Steel Co., Rotherham (1901)

Non-Fiction19013 minsSilent Location: Rotherham

Edwardian workers react to the camera at one of Rotherham's major employers.

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Iron and Steel Supply of the WorldIron and Steel Supply of the World

School programme and Educational film194712 mins

Time-travel to a 1940s classroom with this exemplary educational film.

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Bridging the HighwaysBridging the Highways

Documentary196623 mins

A brand new M6 stars in this film extolling the virtues of the new steel-built motorway bridges.

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Job for JohnnyJob for Johnny

Documentary195020 minsSilent Location: Scunthorpe

Making plans for Johnny, who has a future in British steel - or so says this fascinating recruitment film.

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Listen to SteelListen to Steel

Industry sponsored film196331 mins Location: Sheffield

The heat and noise of a large steel works are brought vividly to life in this promotional film as we are immersed in the "white heat" of Harold Wilson’s scientific revolution.

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Tube AgeTube Age

Documentary194631 mins

Modern life is tubular! Newsreader Frank Phillips celebrates the countless uses for steel tubing.

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Report on SteelReport on Steel

Industry sponsored film194810 mins

Forging, casting, rolling, pressing, welding - men work around the clock to keep the furnaces ablaze: "steel is wanted everywhere!"

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Bilston Blast FurnaceBilston Blast Furnace

Non-Fiction19776 mins Location: Bilston

The Midlands' last blast furnace makes a car production line look like an hospital operating theatre. 'Elisabeth' of Bilston is the pride of the Black Country.

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Modern Trade RouteModern Trade Route

Promotional195516 mins

Steel tankers transport oil across the world's oceans.

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Money and SteelMoney and Steel

Industry sponsored film19599 mins

Steel industry economics made simple (and surprisingly interesting).

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Face of ChangeFace of Change

Documentary197627 mins

Britain's steel industry faces recession - and its human costs - at Ebbw Vale and elsewhere.

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Documentary19706 mins

A broken chain sling, a baffling acronym and some natty graphics. Welcome to the world of 1970s industrial safety!

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Wings of MysteryWings of Mystery

Children's196355 minsDirector: Gilbert Gunn

A thrilling chase through Sheffield’s steelworks with young Don and Jane, looking for clues after the theft of a secret alloy.

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Corby Steel Works ClosureCorby Steel Works Closure

Non-Fiction19792 mins Location: Corby

Save Steel to Save Corby' the banners call. This has become more than a battle to save a steelworks, it's the fight for a whole town's existence.

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Birth of a Big GunBirth of a Big Gun

Non-Fiction19088 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

The manufacture of a new weapon in the pre-WWI naval arms race.

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Making a Motor Car BumperMaking a Motor Car Bumper

19519 minsSilent

A peek behind the scenes at the Hillman motor car factory near Coventry.

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Chain MakingChain Making

Current affairs19839 mins Location: Cradley Heath

In over one hundred and fifty years little has changed in the chain forges of Cradley Heath where big, tough men hammer out the biggest and toughest chains.

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Construction at Ebbw Vale - 1937Construction at Ebbw Vale - 1937

Amateur film19373 minsSilent Location: Ebbw Vale/Glyn Ebwy

Richard Thomas & Co. Ltd (later Richard Thomas and Baldwins) brings government-backed hope to depressed Ebbw Vale with new steelworks.

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Flat Rolled Products of Richard Thomas & Baldwins LimitedFlat Rolled Products of Richard Thomas & Baldwins Limited

Advert196022 mins Location: Ebbw Vale/Glyn Ebwy

A cinematic catalogue of the flat rolled steel products of Richard Thomas and Baldwins, showing some of their typical applications - car parts, cooker hobs, tins, wheelbarrows.

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A Great DayA Great Day

Industry sponsored film196217 mins Location: Llanwern

The most modern, integrated steel works in Europe are at Llanwern, Newport, and they are opened on this “great day” (26/10/1962) by the Queen who is visiting with Prince Philip.

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Ingot Pictorial No. 17Ingot Pictorial No. 17

195320 mins Location: Ebbw Vale/Glyn Ebwy

The steel industry: the men engage with gigantic machines on a huge scale; the apprentice boys help and holiday; the women have their hair done with the stars.

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Steel and Atomic EnergySteel and Atomic Energy

Industry sponsored film195416 mins

Britain steels itself for the atomic age - literally, in this promotional film showing steel as the underpinning of Britain's nuclear future

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Ingot Pictorial No. 25Ingot Pictorial No. 25

195621 mins Location: Ebbw Vale/Glyn Ebwy

Only connect: a little Welsh Lady doll, a steel rocking horse, burning Schnapps and the “Limestone Special”.

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Ingot Pictorial No. 4Ingot Pictorial No. 4

194918 mins Location: Ebbw Vale/Glyn Ebwy

RTB has lots to celebrate and Howard Marshall, director of personnel/public relations and the main Ingot Pictorial commentator, downs a pint in one on opening Ebbw Vale House.

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Ingot Pictorial No. 6Ingot Pictorial No. 6

195021 mins Location: Panteg

This Ingot Pictorial – a quarterly review of life inside and outside RTB steelworks – brings back memories of summer events (carnival, tennis, singing cousins) in December.

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Lancashire Steel Corporation - Irlam WorksLancashire Steel Corporation - Irlam Works

Industry sponsored film193516 minsSilent Location: Irlam

Inside the steel works - come and take a close look at a very heavy industry.

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Sad Day for BilstonSad Day for Bilston

Documentary197924 mins Location: Bilston

A steelworks and a workforce under the shadow of closure. Bilston faces a cold winter as it loses its traditional heavy industry.

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Ingot Pictorial No. 18Ingot Pictorial No. 18

195421 mins Location: London

Tom Williams bridges industrial and rural life: he is a fitter at Bryngwyn Sheetworks but, at leisure, carves shepherd's crooks and competes in sheepdog trials with 'Cap'.

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Steel Strides AheadSteel Strides Ahead

Industry sponsored film196147 mins Location: Lackenby

The glare of molten metal, flames, and furnaces all the visual drama of steel-making is captured in a promotional for Dorman Long on Teesside.

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Steel - the world's most important metalSteel - the world's most important metal

Promotional192041 minsSilent Location: Ebbw Vale/Glyn Ebwy

Mighty machines are seen here at the works of the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Company Ltd, like the Bessemer Converters which can hold 1,000 tonnes of molten iron.

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The Steel Company of Wales Limited - Burry WorksThe Steel Company of Wales Limited - Burry Works

Non-Fiction196111 minsSilent Location: Burry Port/Porth Tywyn

Sheets of steel: processed, packaged and ready for despatch from Llanelli, aka ‘Tinopolis’.

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Steel Sheet MakingSteel Sheet Making

Non-Fiction196114 minsSilent Location: Llanelli

Enduring immense heat and deafening noise, a team of 4 follow the traditional choreography for the production of steel sheets, the danger demanding perfect timing.

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Tool Steel Manufacture at the Works of Edgar Allen & Co., Ltd., SheffieldTool Steel Manufacture at the Works of Edgar Allen & Co., Ltd., Sheffield

Industry sponsored film193918 minsSilent Location: Sheffield

Heating, forging, hammering, bending, cutting, welding, moulding, grinding: from molten steel to finished tools and rail track, via the labour power of Sheffield’s finest.

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Visit to a Cable FactoryVisit to a Cable Factory

Documentary191515 minsSilent Location: Trafford Park

Enter the world of heavy industry a century ago - Glovers Cables in Trafford Park.

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World TurnsWorld Turns

Industry sponsored film196127 mins Location: Colchester

A rare insight into manufacturing in the 1960s, behind the scenes at Colchester Lathes' factory, whose engineers have earned a first class reputation both locally and overseas.

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Iron Ore in BritainIron Ore in Britain

Documentary195630 mins Location: Corby

A richly detailed depiction of the history and technology of the iron ore industry - plus some dramatic explosions.

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Tommy Orr BlacksmithTommy Orr Blacksmith

Documentary19816 mins Location: Ballymena

Immerse yourself in the magical light and sounds of the forge as Tommy Orr continues the family tradition of shoeing horses.

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Prince George's Visit to Scunthorpe - Oct. 26th, 1933Prince George's Visit to Scunthorpe - Oct. 26th, 1933

Non-Fiction19339 minsSilent Location: Scunthorpe

Royalty comes to Scunthorpe - and the Jubilee Cinema produces its very own film to mark the great occasion.

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Furnival and SonFurnival and Son

Government sponsored film194819 mins Location: Sheffield

Super location footage enlivens this drama-documentary on Sheffield's steel industry.

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Workers Leaving Factory in Barrow (1901)Workers Leaving Factory in Barrow (1901)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent Location: Barrow-In-Furness

A tidy exit from an unidentified factory in Edwardian Barrow in Furness.

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Fair OrianaFair Oriana

Documentary196128 mins Location: Barrow-In-Furness

The spectacular story of the building of a massive ocean liner.

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Ingot Pictorial No. 15Ingot Pictorial No. 15

Sponsored film195321 mins Location: Canvey Island

Work, rest and play for the men of steel in this screen review from Welsh steel and tinplate manufacturers Richard Thomas & Baldwin.

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Ingot Pictorial No. 5Ingot Pictorial No. 5

Cinemagazine195019 mins

Family fun, inter-site rivalries, productivity battles - it's all go in this lively steel company newsreel.

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The BlacksmithThe Blacksmith

Documentary197828 mins Location: Cultra

Joe O’Neill demonstrates the magical alchemy of the forge in a film by Roy Spence created for the Ulster Folk Museum.

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Steel Men Talking No.1 and No.2Steel Men Talking No.1 and No.2

Party political broadcast19495 minsSilent

Bill Jones, "a worker, like Tom, Dick & Harry", puts the Conservative case against the nationalisation of the steel industry.

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19415 mins Location: Corfe

Time-honoured craftsmanship at Corfe, near Taunton in Somerset.

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Steel CastingsSteel Castings

193511 minsSilent

Women foundry workers, and some men, are busy producing steel castings.

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United SteelUnited Steel

19596 mins

Word from the top: via the magic of film, a company chairman addresses shareholders across the country

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Heavy IndustriesHeavy Industries

School programme and Educational film19367 mins Location: Glasgow

Splendour and grace - steel and ships made in Glasgow

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Song of the BuilderSong of the Builder

Musical19362 mins

A mystery musical short - gorgeous footage of steelworkers with a lively calypso soundtrack