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 1900 2 mins Silent
A veritable Victorian Towering Inferno.
Arrival of Train-load of Visitors at Henley Station Arrival of Train-load of Visitors at Henley Station
Non-Fiction 1899 1 mins Silent Location: Henley-on-Thames
Jolly boating weather as the hordes descend on Henley for the Regatta.
Non-Fiction 1900 0 mins Silent Location: Cambridge
University teams navigate a bend on the river Cam in no ordinary rowing race.
Non-Fiction 1898 1 mins Silent Location: Ewood Park, Blackburn
A little piece of football history from the people's game: possibly the earliest surviving game on film
Non-Fiction 1898 2 mins Silent Location: Blackwall
The launch of H.M.S Albion, which was marred by the collapse of a gangway which resulted in many spectators drowning.
Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins
The magic of a real solar eclipse filmed by a famous magician
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?
Drama 2020 21 mins
A young Palestinian woman crosses the Israeli border illegally to find her long-lost brother, who she hopes will be her ticket to a new life.
Charity appeal 2020 2 mins
Beautiful NHS fundraiser, setting Michael Rosen’s poem to powerful archive images.
Non-Fiction 1924 1 mins Silent Location: Woking
The UK's first purpose-built mosque welcomes a huge crowd of worshippers - and newsreel cameras!
Comedy 1914 9 mins Silent
A vicar is caught flirting with an improperly-dressed chorus girl in this saucy silent comedy.
Manchester's Welcome to the Imperial Yeomanry (1901) Manchester's Welcome to the Imperial Yeomanry (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 4 mins Silent Location: Manchester
A volunteer cavalry regiment is enthusiastically welcomed home after active service in South Africa.
Non-Fiction 1901 2 mins Silent Location: Liverpool
All ashore! Passengers disembark and crew offload after a long Atlantic crossing.
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