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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Tommy Orr Blacksmith
Immerse yourself in the magical light and sounds of the forge as Tommy Orr continues the family tradition of shoeing horses.
Documentary 1981 6 mins
From the collection of:
Tommy Orr welcomes you into his forge to share his 40 years’ experience as he takes you through the craft of shoeing horses. Watch as Tommy emerges through the smoke like a premonition of the portrait painted four years later by Basil Blackshaw. He speaks about the happy pride he takes in his work and his care for the horses’ welfare. The rhythmic ringing of metal and billowing plumes of smoke are just some of the beautiful moments captured by Roy Spence for the Ulster Folk Museum.
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. Visitors can experience the buildings, tools and crafts of the past from the weaver’s loom to the blacksmith's forge. 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
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.
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.
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.
Industry sponsored film 1935 16 mins Silent Location: Irlam
Inside the steel works - come and take a close look at a very heavy industry.
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.
Comedy 1998 11 mins Location: Belfast
Black comedy about a teenage idealist who builds a bomb, hijacks a lorry and sets off on a most peculiar mission.
Travelogue 1960 15 mins Location: River Bann
All welcome who are interested in boating, angling, wild-fowling, botany, countryside preservation, or just fun!
Sponsored film 1966 15 mins Location: Aldergrove
Packed with celebrities and royal occasions could this be Ulster's answer to Hello! magazine on film?
Amateur film 1967 11 mins Silent Location: Belfast
Swarms of train enthusiasts steal the show as we steam round Northern Ireland.
Amateur film 1953 4 mins Silent Location: Coleraine
Delight in this rare colour footage of the Queen as she tours the scenic north coast on the Royal Train.
Government sponsored film 1950 29 mins Location: Belfast
Even in Belfast, people are only a generation away from the soil. Explore the changing fortunes of Ulster and its farmers in this charming government film.
Industry sponsored film 1960 24 mins
A new luxury express is put through its paces. This film looks over the shoulders of the select band of craftsmen, engineers and operators, whose combined skills try to ensure that a train journey is a delightful experience.
Documentary 1973 15 mins
British Transport Films record the varied daily lives of their neighbours as seen from the high roof of their building in London’s Marylebone.
Industry sponsored film 1957 20 mins
Illustrating the efficiency of express freight trains, and how they link manufacturers with their customers at the other end of Britain.
Documentary 1952 30 mins
Examining a day in the life of what was then the busiest railway system in the world – British Railways.
Travelogue 1953 21 mins Location: York
The Stationmaster at York guides us through a typical day, from dawn to dusk.
Industry sponsored film 1957 9 mins
A 1957 film examining the future for British Railways, and some of the opportunities provided by a new modernisation plan.
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