The South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA) is the regional film archive for the South West of England. Established in 1993, SWFTA's core collection comprises of the combined programme libraries of Westward Television and TSW (Television South West). The archive also cares for a significant number of donated film collections, both amateur and professional, dating back to the early 1900s.
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The Country Railway
David St John Thomas talks about his book The Country Railway
News 1976 5 mins
From the collection of:
Westward TV reporter John Doyle visits Buckfastleigh to interview David St John Thomas about his book the Country Railway. David talks about the introduction of the first machines to travel faster than any animal and depicts the race to open new lines that then become part of the landscape they serve. The Country Railway is a history of the people who conceive, build and run the railways but also a portrayal of the railways' role of bringing in and taking away people and goods.
David was raised in Devon during WWII and his first job was as a reporter for the Western Morning News in Plymouth specialising in transport and holiday stories. He worked with the Dartington Hall Trust producing reports on rural transport. He wrote his first book in 1959 and set up the publishing house David and Charles. The Country Railway, first published in 1976 and redesigned since, is thought to be one of the most widely read books about railways with thousands of copies sold.
Railways on Film
Documentary 1970 7 mins
Sir John Betjeman reminisces about the phasing out of the mainline steam operation.
Non-Fiction 1972 4 mins Location: Blackwell
Would you be able to cope if 500 tonnes of diesel hauled express train hammered past your front window every few minutes? Seems as if you get used to it!
Non-Fiction 1926 4 mins Silent Location: Welwyn Garden City
Empire News Bulletin record the Conservative Minister Neville Chamberlain at Welwyn Station's official opening ceremony.
Non-Fiction 1925 19 mins Silent Location: Darlington
A grand parade of locomotives to celebrate 100 years of railways and the world’s first passenger trains
Non-Fiction 1964 5 mins Location: Derby
A sentimental sale or simply for profit? British Railways sells off the history that doesn't fit with the swinging sixties.
Public Information Filler 1959 6 mins
A heartfelt cry on behalf of the world's litter-baskets.
Recollections of Our Summer Holiday at Babbacombe South Devon August 1931 Recollections of Our Summer Holiday at Babbacombe South Devon August 1931
Amateur film 1931 10 mins Silent Location: Babbacombe
Bowling along country lanes in the family's Austin motor car plus dancing on the beach: the delights of a holiday in Devon
The Inauguration of the Dart Valley Railway by Lord Beeching The Inauguration of the Dart Valley Railway by Lord Beeching
News 1969 1 mins Silent Location: Buckfastleigh
Lord Beeching inaugurates a privately run Dart Valley Railway
News 1977 3 mins Location: Buckfastleigh
Pam is the new police constable in the village of Buckfastleigh
Amateur film 1975 33 mins Silent Location: Rainhill
Come and see Rocket 150, and visit a selection of railway locations, past and preserved.
News 1977 1 mins Silent Location: Buckfastleigh
The Dart Valley Railway operates a quaint steam service on the Primrose Line
Comedy 1896 1 mins Silent
A deft music hall act adapted for film, featuring the only known appearance of pioneer filmmaker Robert Paul
Advert 1985 2 mins
Take a fighter jet, a Top Gun pilot with sunglasses and a brand new SAAB 900 and you have a sure-fire vehicle to launch a Hollywood career.
Promotional 2019 10 mins
A wandering warrior dreams of a new form of expression, in this promo for UNKLE’s album The Road: Part II / Lost Highway Pt. II directed by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones.
1935 16 mins
A rare glimpse of 1930s London in colour: the Thames has never looked lovelier.
1965 1 mins Location: York
A world away from zany humour, Richard Lester shows he can also capture the easy opulence of the upper class nibbling After Eight mints.
Advert 1946 1 mins Silent
Life is looking up! The war is over and the “Corona” Man can visit his “Corona” families once more, door-to-door.
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