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.
Non-Fiction 1901 3 mins Silent Location: Sunderland
Durham Light Infantry veterans collect their medals for valour in the Boer War.
Non-Fiction 1901 3 mins Silent Location: Preston
Easter Monday festivities in Avenham Park, Preston.
Non-Fiction 1901 2 mins Silent Location: Widnes
A multitude of Lancashire schoolchildren is ushered past the camera.
Non-Fiction 1901 4 mins Silent Location: Fartown Ground, Huddersfield
The annual championship meeting of England's premier athletics association.
Non-Fiction 1901 5 mins Silent Location: Accrington
Marching bands and local volunteers fill the streets of the Lancashire town.
Non-Fiction 1901 2 mins Silent Location: Carlisle
The circus comes to town in wintery Carlisle.
Advert 1962 0 mins Location: Rhyl
Cinema advertisement for Marine Lake & Ocean Beach, Rhyl, a popular destination for crowds set on a day's fun on free rides.
Non-Fiction 1898 1 mins Silent Location: Rhyl
Seaside play at Rhyl - charmingly filmed by Wales' first filmmaker
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.
Advert 1972 0 mins Location: Rhyl
Diminutive Denbighshire ‘des reses’ - the Land of Song scaled-down, slate-roofed and spotless
Non-Fiction 1920 1 mins Silent Location: Rhyl
A good deal for a stranded seal - fishy handout for Rhyl’s sleek and adorable visitor
Non-Fiction 1920 2 mins Silent Location: Rhyl
Happy festive hockey - just what the doctor ordered for seasonal over-indulgence?
Industry sponsored film 1960 24 mins
A new luxury express is put through its paces. This film looks over the shoulders of the select band of craftsmen, engineers and operators, whose combined skills try to ensure that a train journey is a delightful experience.
Documentary 1973 15 mins
British Transport Films record the varied daily lives of their neighbours as seen from the high roof of their building in London’s Marylebone.
Travelogue 1953 21 mins Location: York
The Stationmaster at York guides us through a typical day, from dawn to dusk.
Industry sponsored film 1957 20 mins
Illustrating the efficiency of express freight trains, and how they link manufacturers with their customers at the other end of Britain.
Documentary 1952 30 mins
Examining a day in the life of what was then the busiest railway system in the world – British Railways.
Industry sponsored film 1957 9 mins
A 1957 film examining the future for British Railways, and some of the opportunities provided by a new modernisation plan.
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