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.
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Feast your eyes on this buffet for transport lovers. Squeeze in a visit to the ‘hardboard hotel’ between your train and plane spotting.
Amateur film 1970 3 mins Silent
From the collection of:
A solitary plane is interrupted by footage of firefighters in Belfast. Then glimpse the Europa, nicknamed the ‘hardboard hotel’, after the wood used to cover the bomb-shattered glass. Despite being Belfast most bombed building and one of the most bombed hotels in Europe it has only closed its doors twice. Their proud motto throughout the ‘Troubles’ remained ‘we never close’. Finally fly down the motorway past the diesel trains to watch the marching bands in Portadown.
The Europa Hotel was developed by the Ulster Transport Authority. When it opened its doors in 1971 a double room cost £8 and a single room just £4.75. Since then it has been both a base for international journalists reporting on the conflict in Northern Ireland and a refuge for Hollywood stars hiding from the paparazzi. The BFI player features several of A.H. Martin’s personal films which capture the lost gems of public transport in Northern Ireland. You can see the Great Northern Railway Terminus before it was demolished in 1969 to build the Europa Hotel in his film ‘Full Steam Ahead to Dublin’.
Watching the Trains Go By
Amateur film 1952 12 mins Location: Welshpool/Y Trallwng
Jim Fraser of Bristol, with great affection for his subject, introduces the viewer to the “quaint little railways and tramways” of Wales.
Amateur film 1966 37 mins Location: Maldon
Shy and testy retired signalman Wally Trigg chats to amateur filmmaker and railway enthusiast Chib Thorp, as Micky the Collie happily ambles along the overgrown railway line.
Amateur film 1929 4 mins Silent Location: Darlington
A full size replica of Robert Stephenson’s world famous locomotive, The Rocket, steams up a 1920s crowd at the North Road Works in Darlington.
Documentary 1965 15 mins Location: Talyllyn Railway
At the heart of the Talyllyn Railway are the volunteers – e.g. schoolboys, bus drivers, actors – whose commitment ensures the line’s continuance, despite the odd derailment.
Amateur film 1958 2 mins Silent
The West Sussex Downsman railtour visits Midhurst, eminent Victorians appear in Petersfield and part of the town's railway fabric is demolished just before its centenary
Non-Fiction 1978 7 mins Location: Royal Leamington Spa
Church bells, organs and choirs are all sounds you'd expect to hear at a church - but what about the sound of a steam locomotive at full tilt?
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 Silent Location: Belfast
A view down the High Street featuring the Albert Clock, a shot of Queen's Bridge and the docks
News 1981 20 mins Location: Belfast
Join Belfast’s first female Lord Mayor and reconsider how disabled people navigate the streets of Belfast.
News 1976 7 mins Location: Belfast
Witness Northern Ireland’s first telecommunications device for Deaf people
Documentary 2020 11 mins
Searching for one of the last people to speak Gayle - a secret language the gay community were forced to invent during Apartheid.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2017 4 mins
A comedy-drama animation about two best friends growing up in the same world but experiencing it completely differently.
Drama 2019 14 mins
An African Pentecostal Pastor questions everything she believes after a life-changing event.
Drama 2018 8 mins
Samona Olanipekun explores the concepts of home, identity and belonging, from the starting point of the theme of globalisation.
Drama 2017 16 mins
Compelling story of a complex relationship between an imperious father and his son.
Documentary 2020 28 mins
Three African American fathers unravel the incomparable partnership of forgiveness and community.
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