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
From the collection of:
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
1966 11 mins Location: Castleford
Coal touched all our lives, as this issue of the cinemagazine demonstrates with items on a miner's wife turned mayor, a Coal Board chess team and more.
Amateur film 1930 3 mins Silent Location: Great Yarmouth
There’s an obliging pose for the camera by a brawny and tattooed docker as his fellow workers push the freight along Yarmouth’s Rail Line.
Industry sponsored film 1930 6 mins Silent Location: Skelton
A workman balances on the edge of a swing bridge, some 80 foot above the Ouse, instructing the placement of a 680 ton girder. Is this an extension or just running repairs?
Cinemagazine 1952 8 mins Location: Calverton
New colliery opens at Calverton in Nottinghamshire and a visit to Rugby Locomotive Testing Station
Documentary 1974 13 mins Location: Goathland
Desolate stations, abandoned locos and derelict tracks under grey skies become transformed by dedicated volunteers, unmotivated by money, into a marvellous steam railway.
Documentary 1956 12 mins Location: Swindon
Injured British Rail employees are put on the railroad to health at Swindon Works
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 1937 4 mins Silent Location: Hartlepool
A memorable glimpse at the industrial docks and timber yards of West Hartlepool in the 30s.
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.
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
Take a revealing tour along a coast of contrasts, from the folksy freshness of Whitby to the coaly Tyne, queen of all rivers.
Comedy 1896 1 mins Silent
A deft music hall act adapted for film, featuring the only known appearance of pioneer filmmaker Robert Paul
Advert 1985 2 mins
Take a fighter jet, a Top Gun pilot with sunglasses and a brand new SAAB 900 and you have a sure-fire vehicle to launch a Hollywood career.
Promotional 2019 10 mins
A wandering warrior dreams of a new form of expression, in this promo for UNKLE’s album The Road: Part II / Lost Highway Pt. II directed by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones.
1935 16 mins
A rare glimpse of 1930s London in colour: the Thames has never looked lovelier.
1965 1 mins Location: York
A world away from zany humour, Richard Lester shows he can also capture the easy opulence of the upper class nibbling After Eight mints.
Advert 1946 1 mins Silent
Life is looking up! The war is over and the “Corona” Man can visit his “Corona” families once more, door-to-door.
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