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.
This film is part of Free
Listen to Steel
The heat and noise of a large steel works are brought vividly to life in this promotional film as we are immersed in the "white heat" of Harold Wilson’s scientific revolution.
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This is a riveting promotional film made by British Steel that, quite unusually, captures all the sounds of a foundry at work. Indeed it is the sounds, accompanying the wonderful footage of furnaces in Technicolor, which give the film its fascination and authenticity. It also provides a comprehensive overview of the continuous casting process and new developments in the manufacturing of steel, improving efficiency and cutting costs in the 1960s.
The film has two release dates, 1963 and 1968 ( with a French version, La Voix de l'acier). The dates are interesting in that the steel industry was re-nationalised by Harold Wilson in 1967, following its de-nationalisation by the Tories in 1956 (and subsequently again by Thatcher in 1988). Presumably the original film was sponsored by the Iron and Steel Board, and the British Steel Corporation re-released it. Under private ownership, many steel companies made promotional films – such as Firth Brown and Park Gate Iron and Steel in Sheffield – perhaps under the threat of Labour re-nationalisation, and each claiming to be doing what they are often accused of not having done, introducing new technology.