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
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A painterly profile of County Durham's brilliant miner-artist Tom McGuinness.
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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.
J.G. - John Ivor Golding
Biopic 1973 14 mins Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
A glimpse of the life of a chain-smoking, proud-to-be-gay raconteur-of-sorts and resident of Whitchurch Hospital, Cardiff.
The Boat Builders
Documentary 1963 16 mins Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
A boat is a work of art, as this film illustrates so beautifully.
The Opening of the Prince of Wales Hospital at Cardiff
Non-Fiction 1918 13 mins Silent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
Miss Clara Deacon, matron (or 'commandant' as the press refer to her) of this pioneering hospital, accompanies the royal patron on his visit.
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.
Afternoon Tea in the Garden of Clarence House
Non-Fiction 1897 0 mins Silent
Members of Queen Victoria's extended family being natural for the cameras
Pall Mall and Hyde Park Corner
Non-Fiction 1901 1 mins Silent Location: London
Capital scenes thanks to Victorian filmmakers
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (Prince Edward)
1897 0 mins
Jubilee Procession: Leeds
Non-Fiction 1897 3 mins
Dogs in the Surf
Non-Fiction 1901 1 mins Silent
Victorian pooches at play
Royal Leinster Regiment Halifax
1900 1 mins Silent
A brisk drill on a cold winter's day
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