This film is part of Free

United Steel

Word from the top: via the magic of film, a company chairman addresses shareholders across the country

1959 6 mins


"A large and united family." That's how Sir Walter Benton-Jones, company chairman, characterises the United Steel group of companies in this filmed address to shareholders: an intriguing nugget of the history of film as a tool of business communications. Aided by a map - and film footage - the predictably patrician Sir Walter sketches out the structure and operations of the group across northern England.

United Steel, one of the biggest conglomerations in the iron, steel and associated industries sector, sponsored several of the most ambitious and colourful of the many postwar steel films. Two of these, Steel Town - also available on BFI Player - and Steel Rhythm, were packaged together into a double-bill for roadshow distribution to towns with large concentrations of shareholders. What you see here is the introduction to that double-bill. The package was premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square, no less. Possibly on that occasion Sir Walter spoke in person, but the magic of film allows him here to talk to shareholders all round the country. Standard stuff nowadays but back in 1959 a definite case of thinking outside the box.