National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales preserves and celebrates the sound and moving image heritage of Wales, making it accessible to a wide range of users for enjoyment and learning. Its film collection reflects every aspect of the nation’s social, cultural and working life across the 20th century, giving a fascinating insight into Welsh filmmaking, both amateur and professional.
This film is part of Free
Memoirs of a Pit Orchestra
War and a grinding economy take their toll on the spirit and soul of the Welsh in this haunting, poetic study
Drama-documentary 1981 39 mins
From the collection of:
With dialogue and scenarios adapted from the work of poets such as Idris Davies and Harri Webb, archive material and roving musicians, Richard Watkins contemplates industrial south Wales, ravaged by capitalism's booms and busts. The Welsh – vital to the success of England's performance on a brightly-lit stage - accompany the main action unseen from the pit, loyal to a king and country that keep forsaking them.
Richard Watkins, the film-maker, was born (1948) and brought up in Swansea, his family having moved from farm to city after WWII. His other films include 'Milford Fishermen' and 'The Artist in Wales', both available on BFI Player. The words of several acclaimed Welsh poets is pivotal to this film, and the kind permission of the following estates, representatives and publishers was granted for the Unlocking Film Heritage project: Gomer Press and the estate of Idris Davies (Idris Davies); Seren Books (John Davies); Meic Stephens (Leslie Norris, Harri Webb).
The Arts on Film
Mining Review 25th Year No. 9
1972 10 mins Location: Mayfair
A painterly profile of County Durham's brilliant miner-artist Tom McGuinness.
Shadows from Light: The Photography of Bill Brandt
Documentary 1983 55 mins
Take a mesmerising journey through the world of Bill Brandt's shadowy black and white photography.
Documentary 1967 30 mins Location: Chelsea
Potter Ted sells his work in London, to keep the wolf from the door, but practises his art at Felin Wen, his home-cum-studio at Pontrug, Gwynedd.
News 1972 19 mins Location: Downpatrick
What passions burn behind doors in Downpatrick? Enjoy a tale of two unknown artists who have both found something they can truly call their own.
Tom Sharpe and the Places I Hate
News 1983 8 mins Location: Lympstone
The satirical novelist pokes fun at the places he loves to hate.
Hallmark of Harmony
Documentary 1986 26 mins Location: Sheffield
The many joys of barbershop singing on display as our Sheffield hopefuls are cajoled into a winning chorus by an inspirational teacher.
Encil Yr Haul/ The Sun's Retreat: an example of art in the environment
Documentary 1978 19 mins Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
A mechanical grave digger is co-opted to help with the creation of a garden at Glan Ely High School, Cardiff.
From Dyserth to Llandudno and Cardiff
Home movie 1958 4 mins Silent Location: Llandudno
Donald Duck comes home with the Sunday School trippers from Bethel Chapel, Dyserth!
Along the Glamorganshire Canal
Amateur film 1945 6 mins Silent Location: Gabalfa
The once thriving but now derelict canal is full of interest for members of Cardiff Amateur Cine Society.
De La Salle School, Cardiff: Sports Day and Dads' Fishing Trip
Amateur film 1960 6 mins Silent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
Every race has its difficulties – keeping the egg on the spoon, managing a sack with holes in the bottom, running with a piggy-back rider.
Sea Scout Camp at Dale
Home movie 1960 7 mins Silent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
Ropes are cast off, lock gates opened and they're away! Brother Alfred checks his watch to confirm they've caught the ebb tide.
De La Salle School, Cardiff: prize-giving, flag-bearing and the Archbishop of Cardiff
Home movie 1962 4 mins Silent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
Cardiff's Archbishop John Aloysius Murphy takes the salute from Sea Scouts, Scouts and Guides, and meets St David's Cathedral choristers.
Grounded on the Platters: HMS Conway
Home movie 1953 7 mins Silent Location: Anglesey/Ynysmôn
A sorry end to any ship: timings, tide and wind played their part in pushing HMS Conway onto the Platters rocks in the Menai Strait on 14/4/1953.
Exeter Real Ale Festival
News 1975 3 mins Location: Exeter
The wet and warm ale goes down a treat as aficionados gather to celebrate real ale.
Home movie 1955 8 mins Silent Location: Llanddwyn Island/Ynys Llanddwyn
Sea pinks and samphire, lighthouses and church ruins – Llanddwyn’s charms are many and varied.
News 1979 2 mins Location: Plymouth
Experimentation with a coat for two leaves couples with really no escape.
Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music
News 1970 2 mins Location: Shepton Mallet
Progressive gathering of festival goers hits the blues.
Dawson: Lower Penn Show
Home movie 1954 4 mins Silent Location: Lower Penn
Another blustery summer day in the 1950s and it's Lower Penn's carnival parade.