Northern Ireland Screen's Digital Film Archive is a free public access resource for teachers, students, historians and anyone who has an interest in moving images. Spanning from 1897 to the present day, the films in the Digital Film Archive cover all aspects of life in Northern Ireland and includes everything from dramas to documentaries, newsreels and features, animation to amateur footage.
This film is part of Free
Duke of Lancaster
Experience luxury afloat as the Duke of Lancaster embarks on its maiden voyage. Behold the splendour of the ill-fated Funship during it’s heyday with the British Railways fleet.
Sponsored film 1956 7 mins Silent
From the collection of:
Travel up Belfast Lough and glimpse the sleeping giant on Cavehill, which inspired Gulliver’s Travels. Sail the choppy Irish Sea before returning to the slipways of Belfast Harbour. Retired from service in 1979 it became ‘The Funship’, a floating leisure complex born from a loophole in Sunday trading laws. Thwarted by bureaucracy this venture is locked in a Sisyphean battle with the local council. The campaign to continues, whilst this majestic vessel slowly decays.
Built in 1956 by Harland & Wolff this was one of the last passenger steam constructed for British Railways. The Duke of Lancaster served the Heysham to Belfast route as a passenger ferry. It was luxurious enough to be frequently used as a European cruise ship. In 1970 the vessel was converted into a car passenger ferry. Beached at Llanerch-y-Mor, as ‘The Funship’ in the 1980s the car decks were transformed again into a flea market and bingo hall. These colour rushes were generated by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, capturing the region at an intriguing time, post-World War Two and pre-Troubles. This material comes from the collection of National Museums Northern Ireland.
Shipbuilding on Film
Industry sponsored film 1957 7 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
The famous Swan Hunter shipyards on the Tyne grease the slipway for another stirring launch in the prosperous 1950s.
Building and Launch of the "Crepath" at Barnstaple Building and Launch of the "Crepath" at Barnstaple
Non-Fiction 1918 5 mins Location: Barnstaple
Barnstaple's experimental concrete-hulled ship gets a visit from a jolly Italian admiral.
Industry sponsored film 1940 34 mins Location: Royal Albert Dock
There’s breathtaking footage of the London’s docks at their bustling peak in this informative film celebrating the work of the Port Of London Authority.
1935 25 mins Location: Barrow-In-Furness
Paul Rotha’s brilliant film of the building and launch of SS Orion from the shipyards of Barrow-in-Furness.
Non-Fiction 1912 2 mins Silent Location: Southampton
Two of the earliest surviving editions of the Topical Budget newsreel, released in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster.
1936 2 mins Silent
The iconic Cunard White Star liner leaves the shipyard of her birth and ventures seawards for the first time.
Advert 6 mins Location: Belfast
Hangry animals demand better grub in this bizarre advert by E.T. Green
Advert 1960 0 mins Location: Belfast
This family favourite is guaranteed to have you singing all the way to the bread bin
Non-Fiction 1901 1 mins Location: Belfast
Seawards heads a great ship, the biggest of its day
Non-Fiction 1898 2 mins Location: Belfast
A view down the High Street featuring the Albert Clock, a shot of Queen's Bridge and the docks
News 1976 7 mins Location: Belfast
Witness Northern Ireland’s first telecommunications device for Deaf people
News 1981 20 mins Location: Belfast
Join Belfast’s first female Lord Mayor and reconsider how disabled people navigate the streets of Belfast.
Drama 2019 26 mins
Arkita believes herself to be be modern, liberal and independent. An unprecedented encounter with a transgender sex worker questions her beliefs.
National Blood Service: Chief Executive's up-date, November 2001 National Blood Service: Chief Executive's up-date, November 2001
Sponsored film 2001 19 mins
Martin Gorham presents a video update to his staff, outlining some of his department's past achievements and upcoming challenges.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2020 10 mins
In a madcap musical, a 'cat'-stronaut travels the galaxy looking for the meaning of life and encounters a space pup eager to help.
2003 1 mins
A longer version of the famously icky anti-smoking promo in which cigarettes ooze fat.
Public Information Filler 2003 1 mins
“If you care, show it” - is the message to encourage voting in the Scottish elections, long before the galvanising independence referendum of 2014.
Short documentary 2021 4 mins
A South Asian gaze on representation, inequality and discrimination in UK film and TV, set against the backdrop of the casting room.