Northern Ireland Screen's Digital Film Archive is a free public access resource for teachers, students, historians and anyone who has an interest in moving images. Spanning from 1897 to the present day, the films in the Digital Film Archive cover all aspects of life in Northern Ireland and includes everything from dramas to documentaries, newsreels and features, animation to amateur footage.
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Joe O’Neill demonstrates the magical alchemy of the forge in a film by Roy Spence created for the Ulster Folk Museum.
Documentary 1978 28 mins
From the collection of:
Enter the local forge built in 1830, now an active part of the Ulster Folk Museum. With each blow of the hammer imagine the rhythmic clink of the anvil and the creaking horse hide bellows stoking the fire. Joe O’Neill creates a clamp of earth and grass making wood and turf charcoal to supply a source of clean heat. Finally get a glimpse of the superstitions that surround the forge like going three times under the donkey’s belly followed by bread and jam to cure the whooping cough.
This version of the film is mute however the original soundtrack taught the history, tools and techniques of the blacksmith. As rural ways of life were engulfed by an ever more industrialised North the Ulster Folk Museum was born from a 1958 act of parliament. It continues to create a lively world of artefacts to preserve disappearing traditions for future generations. Twin brothers Roy and Noel Spence have been making films for over fifty years; with subjects including crafty leprechauns, creatures from outer space, and the undead. You can enjoy many of these fantastical creations and more of Roy’s craft documentaries on BFI Player. This film is courtesy of Roy Spence and is held in the Irish Film Archive.
Steel on Film
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Industry sponsored film 1948 42 mins Location: Ebbw Vale/Glyn Ebwy
The drama and spectacle of steelmaking at Ebbw Vale.
Industry sponsored film 1961 27 mins Location: Colchester
A rare insight into manufacturing in the 1960s, behind the scenes at Colchester Lathes' factory, whose engineers have earned a first class reputation both locally and overseas.
Ingot Pictorial No. 4
1949 18 mins Location: Ebbw Vale/Glyn Ebwy
RTB has lots to celebrate and Howard Marshall, director of personnel/public relations and the main Ingot Pictorial commentator, downs a pint in one on opening Ebbw Vale House.
Ingot Pictorial No. 6
1950 21 mins Location: Panteg
This Ingot Pictorial – a quarterly review of life inside and outside RTB steelworks – brings back memories of summer events (carnival, tennis, singing cousins) in December.
Lancashire Steel Corporation - Irlam Works
Industry sponsored film 1935 16 mins Silent Location: Irlam
Inside the steel works - come and take a close look at a very heavy industry.
Sad Day for Bilston
Documentary 1979 24 mins Location: Bilston
A steelworks and a workforce under the shadow of closure. Bilston faces a cold winter as it loses its traditional heavy industry.
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Animation & Artists Moving Image 1984 13 mins Silent Location: Belfast
Watch time becomes an artist's material as the city's landmarks star in a strange choreography of workers, shoppers and builders.
Ring of Cultra
Fantasy 1984 22 mins Location: Cultra
Why don't you come along to the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum? Remember, all you need to bring is a little imagination.
The Magic Man
Amateur film 1984 25 mins Location: Cultra
Grave-robbing, murder and villainy abound as a trickster brings his mind-reading act to a remote Irish village.
Spade and Scutch Mill in Cultra
News 1966 3 mins Silent Location: Cultra
Two industrious watermills compete for your attention in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.
Ulster Folk Museum
Amateur film 1967 9 mins Location: Cultra
An ambitious folk museum brushes off the dust to bring the past to life.
News 1966 14 mins Silent Location: Cultra
See the tools in action that helped our farmers win back the soil from the weed and wilderness over generations.
ABC in Sound
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1933 2 mins
Hand-drawn sound experiment by Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy.
Hovis: Boy on the Bike
Advert 1974 1 mins Location: Shaftesbury
A classic slice of British advertising history, though that hill's not as Northern as it looks...
Workforce of Parkgate Iron and Steel Co., Rotherham (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 3 mins Silent Location: Rotherham
Edwardian workers react to the camera at one of Rotherham's major employers.
Workforce of Ormerod's Mill, Great Moor Street, Bolton (1900)
Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins Silent Location: Great Moor St, Bolton
Eager youngsters burst out of the gates of a Victorian cotton mill.
The Henley Regatta
Sport 1901 1 mins Silent Location: Henley-on-Thames
It's the first weekend of July 1901, and high society are on the Thames
Advert 1898 1 mins Silent Location: St Pancras
An unusual farewell in this charming early film
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