National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales preserves and celebrates the sound and moving image heritage of Wales, making it accessible to a wide range of users for enjoyment and learning. Its film collection reflects every aspect of the nation’s social, cultural and working life across the 20th century, giving a fascinating insight into Welsh filmmaking, both amateur and professional.
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E. H. Williams's Merrie Men: Double Dance and 'The School' sketch
Fun on Rhyl seafront as E. H. Williams and his troupe entertain crowds with much ducking and diving in this hectic act.
Non-Fiction 1899 2 mins Silent
From the collection of:
Fancy footwork and slapstick draw the crowds on Rhyl seafront as E H Williams’s troupe perform this hectic show, filmed by pioneer Arthur Cheetham. Jimmy Charters and Fred Egan step niftily to harp, fiddle and double bass, before controlled choreography gives way to the slap, bang, wallop that is the ‘School Sketch’. With blacking-up and much gratiutous thwacking, politically correct this is not!
Arthur Cheetham (1865-1937) was an enterpeneur, cinema proprietor and pioneer filmmaker - the first in Wales to film events for his own shows. 12 of his 47 films, shot mostly from 1898 to 1904, survive partly or wholly. From 1889 to at least 1919 Cheetham was based in Rhyl, where summer beach amusements included minstrel shows like this one, of which he seems to have filmed 2 versions on one day. This NSSAW film shows the start and mid sections of the dance, whilst the BFI’s version shows more, excluding the start. Unlike the BFI version, this film includes the last part of the school sketch.
Lord Durham at Sunderland (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 3 mins Silent Location: Sunderland
Durham Light Infantry veterans collect their medals for valour in the Boer War.
Preston Egg Rolling (c.1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 3 mins Silent Location: Preston
Easter Monday festivities in Avenham Park, Preston.
Parade of Widnes School Children (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 2 mins Silent Location: Widnes
A multitude of Lancashire schoolchildren is ushered past the camera.
AAA Championships at Fartown, Huddersfield (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 4 mins Silent Location: Fartown Ground, Huddersfield
The annual championship meeting of England's premier athletics association.
Accrington Parade (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 5 mins Silent Location: Accrington
Marching bands and local volunteers fill the streets of the Lancashire town.
Algie's Circus in Carlisle (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 2 mins Silent Location: Carlisle
The circus comes to town in wintery Carlisle.
Children on Beach 1898
Non-Fiction 1898 1 mins Silent Location: Rhyl
Seaside play at Rhyl - charmingly filmed by Wales' first filmmaker
Hwn Yw Fy Nyffryn I
Amateur film 1954 21 mins Location: Moel Famau
Hwn yw fy nyffryn I - This is my valley: proud inhabitants of Dyffryn Clwyd illustrate its bounty and its ancient and religious buildings.
Welsh Model Village Rhyl
Advert 1972 0 mins Location: Rhyl
Diminutive Denbighshire ‘des reses’ - the Land of Song scaled-down, slate-roofed and spotless
Seal Ashore at Foryd, Rhyl
Non-Fiction 1920 1 mins Silent Location: Rhyl
A good deal for a stranded seal - fishy handout for Rhyl’s sleek and adorable visitor
Christmas Day Sports at Rhyl, 1920
Non-Fiction 1920 2 mins Silent Location: Rhyl
Happy festive hockey - just what the doctor ordered for seasonal over-indulgence?
S.S.Pusey Jones No.2 Ashore at Rhyl
Non-Fiction 1920 0 mins Silent Location: Rhyl
Rhyl’s beached ship isn’t going anywhere, as the forces of nature trap the S.S. Pusey Jones No.2 on the sands
Hovis: Boy on the Bike
Advert 1974 1 mins Location: Shaftesbury
A classic slice of British advertising history, though that hill's not as Northern as it looks...
Workforce of Parkgate Iron and Steel Co., Rotherham (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 3 mins Silent Location: Rotherham
Edwardian workers react to the camera at one of Rotherham's major employers.
Workforce of Ormerod's Mill, Great Moor Street, Bolton (1900)
Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins Silent Location: Great Moor St, Bolton
Eager youngsters burst out of the gates of a Victorian cotton mill.
The Henley Regatta
Sport 1901 1 mins Silent Location: Henley-on-Thames
It's the first weekend of July 1901, and high society are on the Thames
Advert 1898 1 mins Silent Location: St Pancras
An unusual farewell in this charming early film
Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins
The magic of a real solar eclipse filmed by a famous magician
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