The Yorkshire Film Archive collects, preserves, and shows film made in, or about Yorkshire. Our collections are non-fiction, dating from the 1890s to the present day, and providing a rich and visually compelling record of all aspects of lives, cultures, landscape, industries, major events and everyday activities, many of which are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
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Hartlepool Sleeper Depot
The life of a railway sleeper is not an easy one, and here they get prepared for the rain, the snow and ice, and the thousands of tons of steel hurtling over them, day in day out.
Industry sponsored film 1957 13 mins Silent
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With the incessant rattle of passenger and freight trains bearing down on top of them, the average sleeper gets quite a pounding. As they slowly rot and splinter new supplies arrive at Hartlepool docks from the Baltic in 1957. Just up the road the new sleepers are shunted on trolleys into long cylindrical tanks, tightly closed, to be pumped with creosote. They are pulled out at the other end by chain, pass along a conveyor belt, are “chaired”, and go on their way.
This is one of a large collection of films created by the Photographic Unit of the Chief Civil Engineer of the LNER in York, and his successors on British Railways, and eventually being passed on to Fastline Photographic. The sleeper depot on Cleveland Rd, near Hartlepool docks, had been refurbished in 1956, but has since closed. Although freight traffic on the rail was in sharp decline, and severe line cuts only a few years away, the permanent way is nevertheless anything but permanent. With over 2,000 sleepers required for each mile of track, the job of replacement is continual. Each of the timber sleepers, made from fir trees, 9 ft long by 10 in wide by 5 in deep, has to absorb from three to six gallons of creosote.
Building a British Railway
Documentary 1959 17 mins
This poetic Free Cinema documentary, filmed near Manchester, reflects on the changing world of the engineman.
Non-Fiction 1976 7 mins Location: Bridgnorth
Is Chris Tarrant up to shovelling a ton and a half of coal to keep the fire burning and the steam up between Bridgnorth and Bewdley?
Industry sponsored film 1939 45 mins Silent Location: Northampton
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Amateur film 1975 33 mins Silent Location: Rainhill
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Documentary 1955 10 mins Location: Bleathgill
Snowploughs are readied to rescue a snowbound train - in one of the most popular of all British Transport Films.
Industry sponsored film 1960 24 mins
Telling the story of four British Road Services drivers who lived and worked together for two years.
Documentary 1981 32 mins Location: Middlesbrough
A film which shows the desire and dedication of those with disability to become integrated into the world of work.
Promotional 1982 9 mins Location: Hartlepool
David Bellamy puts his head into hops, then into a fermenting tank, watches it mash into wort and has a pint – all grist to our engaging presenter.
Home movie 1939 8 mins Silent Location: Hartlepool
A red letter day for Hartlepool aviation as the Secretary of State for Air opens a new civic airport at Greatham on the brink of World War Two.
Home movie 1937 4 mins Silent Location: Hartlepool
A memorable glimpse at the industrial docks and timber yards of West Hartlepool in the 30s.
Hartlepool Rovers' Diamond Jubilee Rugby Match with Bob Oakes Hartlepool Rovers' Diamond Jubilee Rugby Match with Bob Oakes
Amateur film 1939 17 mins Silent Location: Hartlepool
Rare footage of Rugby Union legend Bob Oakes and his International XV team in action against Hartlepool Rovers.
Documentary 1962 27 mins Location: Whitby
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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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