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.
Non-Fiction 1968 7 mins Location: Keighley
The age of steam lingers on as the `Worth Valley Railway Re-Opening Special' pulls into Keighley station, and hardly an anorak in sight.
Amateur film 1960 7 mins Location: Bluebell Railway
Enjoy this charming film from Trevor White which charts the birth of the Bluebell Railway - from the germ of an idea into a fully functioning steam railway
Amateur film 1970 32 mins Silent Location: Bluebell Railway
Twenty years of the Bluebell Railway are chronicled in this film - featuring open days, journeys on low-loaders, the Golden Arrow Pullman service and even Stephenson's Rocket
Non-Fiction 1973 4 mins Location: Pickering
No money incentives required for the dedicated volunteers bringing the defunct Whitby to Pickering up to speed for re-opening, and for the arrival of the iconic Flying Scotsman.
Non-Fiction 1974 9 mins Location: Grosmont
Rails are lifted, fishplates fitted and keys hammered into place, as another Sir Nigel Gresley, saved from the scrapyard, gets a second life on the North Yorkshire Moors.
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
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.
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.
Travelogue 1953 21 mins Location: York
The Stationmaster at York guides us through a typical day, from dawn to dusk.
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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