Screen Archive South East is a public sector moving image archive serving the South East of England. The archive's collections of magic lantern slides, films, videos and associated materials capture the many varied aspects of life, work and creativity from the early days of screen history to the present day and serve as a rich and invaluable historical resource.
This film is part of Free
Petworth, Midhurst & Petersfield Line
The twenty miles of rural railway that once lay between Pulborough and Petersfield is wonderfully immortalised in this film from the mid-fifties
Amateur film 1955 20 mins Silent
From the collection of:
Rattling over heathland at Ambersham and Heyshott, our train calls at sleepy rural stations like Selham, Petworth and Fittleworth before reaching the mainline at Pulborough. We return by ‘push-pull train’ to Midhurst before continuing on to Petersfield, on the Portsmouth mainline. The film also shows a railtour’s arrival at Midhurst on 6 February 1955 - where crowds gather to see one of the last trains of such length on their local line before its inevitable closure.
Once British Rail's plans for the wholesale closure of routes became known, enthusiasts organised railtours along those soon to be closed lines. As you can see from this film, the chance to travel along a condemned line for perhaps the last time, proved exceedingly popular. For the bulk of this film, the service trains along the route consist mostly of a few carriages, carrying miniscule numbers of passengers. These trains contrast sharply with the very long, for this particular line, Railtour which arrives at Midhurst, bringing large numbers of rail enthusiasts to witness, along with crowds of locals, this historic but melancholy occasion.
Romance of Rail
Comedy 1899 2 mins Silent
A snatched kiss in a railway tunnel, played by real-life married couple GA Smith and Laura Bayley
Documentary 1970 7 mins
Sir John Betjeman reminisces about the phasing out of the mainline steam operation.
Western 1937 81 mins
Ambitious, stirring British Western that pits man against the elements in the battle to drive a railway through the Canadian Rockies
Non-Fiction 1930 1 mins Silent Location: Liverpool
Transports of delight as the Liverpool and Manchester Railway celebrates its centenary
Amateur film 1937 12 mins Silent Location: Euston Sta
Princess Alice' hauls her passengers to Scotland aboard the streamlined Coronation Scot in this dazzling film from the late 1930s
Comedy 1931 39 mins
Surviving footage of the first sound version of Arnold Ridley's famous railway station comedy thriller
Amateur film 1930 15 mins Silent Location: West Sussex
Thirties seaside holidays feature in this Albany Cine Club film - with families, dogs, pipe smokers and uncomfortable woolen swimwear
Amateur film 1938 18 mins Silent Location: Ottershaw
Join the Giles family and their friends on an idyllic seaside holiday by the Sussex coast - just a few months before the Munich Crisis
Amateur film 1935 4 mins Silent Location: West Sussex
The arrival of summer means it's time for grown men to dress as ladies and play some raucous cricket - as Eric Norman's holiday camp film shows
Amateur film 1952 7 mins Silent Location: West Sussex
The changing rhythm of the seasons are captured in this award-winning short film – which also features skipping, lambs, picnics and bikinis
Amateur film 1950 14 mins Silent Location: West Sussex
Enjoy the changing colours of the Sussex countryside and the fruits of the season in this prize-winning lyrical film diary
Amateur film 1966 6 mins Silent Location: West Sussex
Watch the Crawley & Horsham Hunt shakin' their livers in this lively film about fox-hunting and point-to-point racing made by Dora Harmer
Charity appeal 2020 2 mins
Beautiful NHS fundraiser, setting Michael Rosen’s poem to powerful archive images.
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.
Spectators Promenading in Weston Park, Sheffield (1902) Spectators Promenading in Weston Park, Sheffield (1902)
Non-Fiction 1902 3 mins Silent Location: Weston Park
A stroll in the park for civilised city-dwellers in Edwardian South Yorkshire.
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.
About the archive
Know this place?
Do you recognise a place, building or location in this film?
Help us populate the Britain on Film map by spotting and plotting the street or location you know. This is a BFI project and anyone can help.
Go to our Britain on Film crowdsourcing site and contribute to our mapping mission – to identify locations within our archive films.Add a location