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
Repairing Track After Mustard Gas Attack
With the horrific effects of gas warfare still fresh in the memory, rubberised men – like extras from a 1950s British sci fi movie – prepare for more, with 1940s attention to detail.
Industry sponsored film 1939 45 mins Silent
From the collection of:
Yet another example of the meticulous preparations made by Britain for any kind of attack from the Nazis, as the Phoney War gives way to the Blitz. In this case railway personnel combine military and medical expertise in dealing with a crater on a railway line caused by an enemy mustard bomb. Covered from head to foot in plastic, and rubber, with matching gas masks, these men take every precaution to avoid the treacherous vapour, cleaning anything that might be contaminated.
This is one of a large collection of British Rail, and some pre- British Rail, films inherited by the track renewals company Fastline in 1996, and passed on to Fastline Photography when they folded in 2010. This training film, with a realistic demonstration of how to deal with a mustard bomb attack, gives a scenario that fortunately was never faced. Every adult and child was issued with a gas mask on the outbreak of war, with a legal requirement to carry it at all times. Although mustard gas was heavily used in World War One, and by the Italians in Abyssinia just a few years earlier, it seems fear of retaliation prevented its use in this war. Yet it seems that in 1941 the threat was still perceived to be real.
Building a British Railway
Documentary 1959 17 mins
This poetic Free Cinema documentary, filmed near Manchester, reflects on the changing world of the engineman.
Non-Fiction 1976 7 mins Location: Bridgnorth
Is Chris Tarrant up to shovelling a ton and a half of coal to keep the fire burning and the steam up between Bridgnorth and Bewdley?
Amateur film 1975 33 mins Silent Location: Rainhill
Come and see Rocket 150, and visit a selection of railway locations, past and preserved.
Industry sponsored film 1974 18 mins
An account, in human and non-technical terms, of the electrification of the West Coast main line railway from Crewe to Glasgow
Documentary 1955 10 mins Location: Bleathgill
Snowploughs are readied to rescue a snowbound train - in one of the most popular of all British Transport Films.
Industry sponsored film 1960 24 mins
Telling the story of four British Road Services drivers who lived and worked together for two years.
Probe - Alf Morris announces the recalling of the Invacar Probe - Alf Morris announces the recalling of the Invacar
News 1976 12 mins Location: Northampton
Alf Morris, Minister for the Disabled explains why use of the Invacar is to be phased out, to the dismay of some disabled drivers.
Home movie 1932 3 mins Silent Location: Northampton
From bikes to biplanes: anything goes in Northampton's annual hospital fund-raiser
Documentary 1963 17 mins Location: Northampton
Your employer is relocating to Northampton. Will this film convince you it's a good idea for you too?
Cobbler Makes Cricket Boots for World's Cricket Stars Cobbler Makes Cricket Boots for World's Cricket Stars
News 1972 3 mins Location: Northampton
Anglia TV visit the world famous cobbler for cricketers, Albert Whiting, in his Northampton shop.
News 1977 6 mins Location: Northampton
What happens when a career in professional sport comes to a dramatic end? Former cricketer Colin Milburn has decided to look for a job.
Documentary 1937 34 mins Silent Location: Houses of Parliament
Follow working narrow boats as they make their 60-hour trip from London to Birmingham along Britain's longest industrial waterway.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1936 8 mins
Spoiler alert! The fox is always going to outsmart the hounds in this delightful, balletic cartoon that heads from the countryside into 1930s suburbia.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1936 9 mins
Carmen get your cartoon opera fix in this (very!) loose version of Bizet’s classic tale of romance and treachery.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1909 4 mins
Toy Story meets Fatal Attraction in this tale of an Edwardian childhood romance scuppered by poor finances and a stalking dolly
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1940 8 mins
Who does he think he’s kidding? This parodic day-in-the-life portrait of Mr Hitler is one of the very few British examples of comic cartoon propaganda from WW2.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1919 10 mins Silent
Remember when Charlie Chaplin went into space? Reality is no obstacle in this endlessly inventive silent cinema cartoon of the 'Little Tramp'
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1925 6 mins
1920s canine icon Bonzo the Dog tests the Entente Cordiale to the limit in this silent British cartoon
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