Tales from the Shipyard is the latest instalment in the BFI’s ongoing series of This Working Life projects. The overall remit is to celebrate Britain’s industrial past through its representation on film, one which began in 2009 with King Coal, a look at the history of mining, and will culminate with an examination of the steel industry. As with King Coal, Tales from the Shipyard will involve a season of screenings at the BFI Southbank (mixing both feature films and documentaries), subsequent touring programmes and a tie-in DVD release, plus new additions to the BFI Mediatheques, their YouTube channel and their Screenonline website. Full details of the Southbank screenings (which begin today) and the touring programmes can be found on the BFI website here.
One crucial difference between Tales from the Shipyard and King Coal - other than their subject matter, of course - relates to their respective DVD collections. King Coal’s principal tie-in release, Portrait of a Miner, compiled a wide array of output from the National Coal Board Film Unit, yet in doing so was only able to encompass the years in which the NCB was active, namely 1947 to 1984. I point this out not to criticise that collection, which after all was an excellent set, but rather to demonstrate the comparative range which Tales from the Shipyard contains. Here we begin in 1898 with a minute-long actuality film from the Prestwich Manufacturing Company and conclude some 76 years later with an early short from the Amber Film Collective. In between all kinds of documentary practices are considered, from the films of Mitchell & Kenyon to the animation of Halas & Batchelor, whilst such key players as John Grierson, Paul Rotha and Edgar Anstey are also represented. Fittingly, there’s even an extract from the National Coal Board’s Mining Review. The overall effect is that Tales from the Shipyard tells a number of stories at once: not only does it have almost a century’s worth of shipbuilding history amongst its contents, it also has almost a century’s worth of documentary filmmaking to draw on too. Furthermore, these cinematic concerns also tie-in greatly with the BFI’s British documentary output over the past few years, an element which I will consider later on this review.
To begin with the historical perspective, Tales from the Shipyard effectively documents, in the simplest of terms, a booming industry that was eventually reduced to one in serious decline. One of the earliest films included, Mitchell & Kenyon’s Employees Leaving Messrs Vickers and Maxim’s in Barrow, is a ‘factory gate’ piece - two minutes in which a seemingly endless stream of workers pass by their camera whilst various enthusiastic and/or intrigued children occupy the foreground. Whilst the filmmakers’ intentions would have been mainly that of capturing as many people within the camera’s gaze as possible in order to secure bums on seats at that afternoon’s show, the films of Mitchell & Kenyon have now taken on a different perspective, one that is almost purely historical. In this case, what is being demonstrated here more than anything else is the sheer strength of the industry. Indeed, fast forward almost seventy years later and there are no longer any such processions. As Sean Connery’s 1967 television documentary The Bowler and the Bunnet demonstrates, the shipyards of Clyde are now empty or populated by the few; a brief piece of camera trickery represents past employees as mere ghosts. Put simply, a ‘factory gate’ film wouldn’t have been possible in the late sixties or early seventies, or rather if one had been made then its two minutes would look very different.
Yet this transition from the commercial interests of Mitchell & Kenyon to the political motivations of Sean Connery and, later, the Cinema Action collective with their record of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders’ ‘work-in’ of 1971 in UCS 1 isn’t simply one of straightforward decline. The history of shipbuilding in the intervening decades is far more complex and covers too many angles to be reduced to a simple downwards slope. There are two World Wars to consider in-between and the effect they had upon the industry, not to mention developments in technology and construction plus the growth in commercial travel. It’s a shame that Tales from the Shipyard was unable to find the room for Gilbert Gunn’s excellent 1944 documentary Tyneside Story (although it is available elsewhere as part of the Imperial War Museum’s Shipyards and Docklands at War compilation). Here we find a film concerning itself with the problems of wartime labour as a result of decline - and job losses - in-between the war years. It paints a frank picture and ends on an ominous note, as it gives voice to some of the workers and their misgivings, firstly, at being asked to return to the jobs from which they were once ejected (which prompts comparisons with, many years later, with the lyrics of Elvis Costello’s song Shipbuilding) and, secondly, with the promises of continuing labour afterwards. The point, of course, is that the shipyards were not always in such rude health and that the mass closures on the Clyde and elsewhere that came later on seemed as much a potential reality back then.
In place of Tyneside Story, Tales from the Shipyard approaches the war years from differing angles. Visit of Their Majesties the King and Queen to the North-East Corner Shipbuilding and Engineering Works on the Wear (1917) documents a self-evident Royal visit that was intended as a morale booster for exhausted workers during the tail-end of the Great War. 1941’s Steel Goes to Sea and The Little Ships of England from 1943 both end with declarations of how their respective subjects are aiding the war effort, the latter even evoking Dunkirk spirit in its voice-over. Furthermore, both find a place for a (very) young apprentice, the aim being to demonstrate that the skills they will learn over the next few years will lead to a job for life. For Steel Goes to Sea this also allows for a bit of youthful rib-poking in Hitler’s direction thanks to our apprentice adding “Hitler is a B” in chalk graffiti on a piece of steel. In the case of The Little Ships of England, the emphasis is more readily placed on community and the position within it where our young learner will eventually settle.
Interestingly, this sense of community is an area addressed again and again across Tales from the Shipyard. Whilst there is plenty of opportunity for politicizing throughout the decades in the manner of Tyneside Story or UCS 1 (excepting those titles which were produced for industrial sponsors, of course), the general register is one of celebration and, moreover, the celebrating of men at work. Indeed, even those by filmmakers from whom you expect some political commentary (such as Paul Rotha or the Amber Films Collective) approach their material in a way that bypasses such issues and instead focuses on more neutral concerns. In the case of Rotha, and his 1936 film Shipyard, these seem primarily cinematic (as he indulges new sound technologies and slow-motion photography), but then he also has a terrific feeling for the working environment and the simple pleasures of getting the job done. Similarly Amber’s Launch from 1974, despite being made at a time of great unrest within the industry, cannot resist the purely cinematic images of a ship during its last stages of construction or the way in which an entire town rushes down the streets in order to catch sight of this “giant infant” (as Seawards the Great Ships puts it) entering waters for the first time.
Naturally, such celebratory tones are best expressed in the titles specifically geared towards promoting the industry or areas closely connected. One particularly charming inclusion is Chains from 1939. Despite its year of production the film was made silent (with intertitles), it effectively being an amateur film shot on 16mm made to promote the chain smiths Noah Hingley & Sons. At the opposite end of the spectrum we find 1962’s A Great Ship, sponsored by P&O in order to promote the SS Canberra, an immense ocean liner. Rather than 16mm and intertitles, here we get full colour, globe-trotting (taking in India and Australia as well as the expected London and Belfast), Patrick Magee on voice-over duties and a final sequence which shows of the liner’s various luxuries, from swimming pools to a charmingly dated “teenage bar”, are breathlessly demonstrated. Interestingly, both films also provide a bit of extra history outside of their immediate concerns: Noah Hingley & Sons would provide the chains for the SS Titanic before her ill-fated voyage; the SS Canberra would later be requisitioned by the British Navy during the Falklands War.
What I’ve hopefully demonstrated so far is the manner in which the range of material and historical aspects is mirrored by the cinematic methods capturing them. From 16mm to pan-global promos, from Rotha’s experimentation to pure polemic. Indeed, Tales from the Shipyard really is a rich source for showcasing the various forms of documentary filmmaking. A piece such as Visit of Their Majesties the King and Queen is essentially a news item - capturing the event for posterity and nothing more - likewise the Topical Budget film from 1913, The Launch of HMS Lowestoft. Arguably, you could also make the case that UCS 1 is just as much a newsreel, albeit made many decades later and from a completely different standpoint. Here we effectively have a piece of underground filmmaking: Cinema Action, the collective behind its making, was set up in May 1968 in order to show footage of the French riots. This led to a move into filmmaking and a tackling of political issues from the inside. UCS 1 is one such example with Cinema Action recording the ‘work-in’ organised by shop steward Jimmy Reid via interviews with those involved and a record of supporting marches. The footage is all more important given that Reid et al only spoke to the media via press conference; despite the wealth of support the UCS workers got during their action (including a diverse array of celebrities, from John Lennon to former shipbuilder Billy Connolly) and the resultant coverage, nobody else captured anything quite as unique or up-close as that found in UCS 1. Whilst it may have achieved its results very differently to that of the Topical Budget Company, say, the historical record is just as significant. In an age of political dispute, the newsreel once again became a valuable cinematic tool and documentary practices reverted back to something simpler (see also The Miners’ Campaign Tapes from 1984, i.e. during the Miners Strike, which were issued onto disc as part of the BFI’s King Coal project).
Indeed, the period between The Launch of HMS Lowestoft and UCS 1, as captured on Tales from the Shipyard, allows for a wonderful demonstration of how the British documentary evolved during these years. The early actualities and newsreels eventually give way to a greater sense of structure and purpose. SS Olympic, from 1910, moves beyond footage of launches and royal visits to provide a complete record of a construction of a single ship from its conception on the drawing board through to the various building processes. Filmed over a number of years, it is clearly more than an assemblage of a number of shots (per some of the other films present from these early decades) instead being thoughtfully produced and carefully considered. Moreover, it also set the template for numerous shipbuilding films to come; the initial-keel-to-launch structure is repeated again and again throughout Tales from the Shipyard albeit with slight tweaks and variations in each case. Shipyard, for example, demonstrates the effect sound could have on the material, especially under Rotha’s control whereby it takes on experimental rhythmic dimensions. (Speaking of soundtracks, 1941’s Tyneside, meanwhile, adopts the standard voice-over device of being clear, informative and impassive - and it works brilliantly, of course, in explaining the various processes which, seventy years down the line, seem remarkable to modern eyes.) Furthermore, we see the introduction of colour to proceedings or the works of those directors and producers who, by the time of their respective films as featured on Tales from the Shipyard, knew exactly how to produce a sterling piece of work.
Three such works are deserving of discussion here: Jack Howell’s The Sea Shall Test Her; British Transport Films’ Berth 24, produced by Edgar Anstey and adorned with an array of BTF talent amongst its credits; and Seawards the Great Ships, an Oscar-winner and one of the last films on which John Grierson worked. Howells, although his Oscar-winning masterpiece Dylan Thomas (1963) was still to come when he made The Shall Test Her in 1954, has previously worked at DATA under Donald Alexander and been involved in the first three British Transport Films productions whilst employed by Pathé (during this time he also did script work for the Children’s Film Foundation). Such esteemed work and experience clearly shows in the final product, which he wrote as well as directed. The Sea Shall Test Her is a fine example of that evocative school of documentary which combined poetic voice-over with superb musical accompaniment (in this case a score by Edward Williams) and an excellent command of the material. Essentially it once again tells the story of a ship’s construction - here the Bloemfontein - from start to finish, yet it does so with such skill and authority that any sense of déjà vu is swiftly forgotten.
Berth 24, on the other hand, has a broader remit to consider. The ship had already been constructed before the cameras rolled, rather in this instance we are catching her as she goes into “turnaround”, i.e. the process of unloading import goods and the loading of export goods. At 40-minutes long, considerably longer than any of the British Transport Films at this point (1950), it allows for a somewhat leisurely look at the activities of the dockland as told from various viewpoints and perspectives, each given their own voice. Indeed, it once again highlights that aspect of community so intrinsic to Tales from the Shipyard; our subjects cover all manner of occupations and differences in class, yet each is equal in the eye of the camera as they pull together for a collective task. Needless to say for those aware of the BTF’s vast output, it also looks absolutely terrific, with wonderful photography from the Unit’s regulars Ronald Craigen, James Ritchie (later to replace Anstey as the BTF’s producer-in-chief) and Ron Bicker, an element that would continue throughout much of its existence. There’s also the presence of Stewart McAllister as editor, a role he had previously performed on many of Humphrey Jennings’ best-loved works.
Seawards the Great Ships won Scotland its first Academy Award in 1961 for Best Live Action Short (oddly enough, seeing as Best Documentary Short would surely have been more appropriate). Its appeal to voters is easy to see thanks to its Technicolor photography and epic sensibilities. The focus is on the Clyde - “shipbuilding’s greatest workshop” - here treated as though it were the subject of a travelogue. After an initial introduction, highlighting its production of everything from ferries to floating cranes, we get a little more in-depth as the processes and working methods are poetically described by Bryden Murdoch to the accompaniment of Iain Hamilton’s score. Yet what remains most striking is the sheer visual power behind the film; not simply the Technicolor, but also the scale of things - the camera continually occupying the frame with all that is large and immense. It comes as little surprise to discover that director Hilary Harris would later go on to photograph portions of Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi, or that his previous experience had been primarily on experimental shorts which relied almost solely on their visual content.
Of course, what this shows - and indeed what the majority of the Tales from the Shipyard films show - is just how intrinsically cinematic shipbuilding is. The scale of the products of these men’s labour is an absolute sight to behold. Fittingly, the first and last inclusions demonstrate this to highest degree. The Launch of HMS Albion at Blackwall, filmed in 1898, had a wonderful piece of foresight and decided to capture the event as though from the gods. From this extremely high vantage point the cameraman E.P. Prestwich was able to shoot his minutes’ worth of material so that the ship enters the frame slowly until its entire bulk is captured within. It’s a startling image, made all the more impressive given the age of the film. Now approaching 113 years I would argue that its powers are all the more forceful and a truly breathtaking means of opening this set. And yet, the final image of Tales from the Shipyard is just as remarkable. Launch was shot on a simple Bolex camera, but any technical inadequacies (especially when placed alongside the likes of Seawards the Great Ships) are easily transcended by the stunning footage it captured. Once again we see a ship slowly enter the frame, except this time the position is not from high in the heavens, but rather the end of a terraced street on Tyneside. As people run past the camera we witness the immensity of this giant beast going past, dwarfing not only the gathered crowds but also the houses and everything else in her vicinity.
All of which should demonstrate just how rich Tales from the Shipyard is as a complete package. The range of material allows it to approach the subject matter from both a historically and cinematically diverse matter, whilst the quality of the individual works is such that to pick a highlight is a genuine challenge. Some are remarkable for their imagery, some for their history, some as just plain and simple examples of great filmmaking. Yet whilst I have no hesitation in recommending this boxed-set solely on its own merits, there is another aspect to consider. Thanks to this range, Tales from the Shipyard also works as a superb advertisement for the BFI’s British documentary output as a whole and fits in really quite snugly with the various packages which have come before.
The British Film Institute have been releasing British documentaries onto DVD for almost as long as they’ve been issuing discs. The first major projects were a series of volumes devoted to Mitchell & Kenyon and British Transport Films. The latter, in particular, proved so successful that it eventually extended to nine two-disc collections, later compiled into a giant boxed-set. More importantly, this success no doubt aided the decision to follow suit with similar documentary packages, as we have subsequently seen with those dedicated to the GPO Film Unit, the Central Office of Information’s prolific output or the National Coal Board. Indeed, when we think of the BFI’s contribution to getting British documentary issued onto DVD, it is the big collections which we remember: not only those already mentioned, but also their exhaustive Free Cinema set, the Land of Promise and Shadows of Progress volumes devoted to key periods in British non-fiction filmmaking, or more niche products such as The Birds and the Bees compilation of sex education films over the years.
Yet such tent-pole releases tell only part of the story. Alongside these mammoth collections (each containing many hours worth of material) there have also been standalone discs of key titles, from Herbert Ponting’s South to The Animals Film, and various filmmaker-dedicated collections ranging from an impressive R.W. Paul set which compiled all of his surviving works to a pair of counterculture documentaries by Peter Whitehead. On top of this there have also been numerous other titles issued as extra features across a whole host of BFI discs, whether it be Menelik Shabazz’s agit-prop Blood Ah Go Run accompanying his feature Burning an Illusion or one of the Flipside releases finding room for a piece of contextualising non-fiction (for example, the presence of James Hill’s anti-nuclear film A Sunday to Remember sitting alongside Gerry O’Hara’s That Kind of Girl owing to their shared subject matter).
The importance of this wide range of individual titles, filmmakers and dedicated volumes is that the seemingly chaotic diversity in fact points towards an overall connectedness. With each new boxed-set or bonus feature comes another piece in the puzzle and the bigger picture becoming clearer as a result. One of the key beneficiaries to date has been John Krish, whose career has slowly come into view thanks to various BTF and COI discs amongst others. Indeed, he is due to get his own dedicated DVD and Blu-ray volume next month in the shape of A Day in the Life, an extension of the same-titled touring programme that began last November. But it isn’t simply individuals who have come into greater focus. Whole eras of British documentary filmmaking are now more readily understandable thanks to the wealth of material that has been made available; it is no longer the case that a handful of directors, producers and film units are seen to represent over a century’s worth of prolific output.
In this respect, it is tempting to compare the BFI’s British documentary output with that of their Flipside strand dedicated to unearthing hidden and unexpected gems of British cinema from the sixties and seventies. The latter has been getting deserved kudos as it re-maps this area which has for too long been popularly imagined as consisting almost solely of Carry On films and the output of Woodfall Films or poor imitators of either. Instead, the Flipside is showing a far more diversified blend, a cinema that could be experimental and exciting or an industry that was just as at home making punchy B-movies and ‘mondo’ documentaries as it was more considered and heartfelt pieces. Arguably, the British documentary releases are doing much the same thing albeit without a single strand to tie the various volumes and titles together. In place of Carry On and Woodfall substitute John Grierson, say, and Humphrey Jennings and hopefully you get the impression. Whilst both Grierson and Jennings have been ably represented over a number of volumes, it has become increasingly clear that they were not the sole purveyors of quality non-fiction filmmaking, or indeed that such qualities began and ended with their careers.
Yet whilst the Flipside strand has since been treated to a budget ‘sampler’ disc promoting its various riches, the British documentary output has had no such luck. I would argue that such a product could prove highly beneficial as it seeks to free these films from pre-conceptions that they do nothing more than relate to their given subjects. In other words, the British Transport Films volumes are not simply about trains, but contain many pleasures and cinematic qualities beyond. Similarly, Portrait of a Miner should not be of interest solely to those with whom coalmining holds a certain nostalgic resonance. Moreover, to place a BTF film alongside one by the National Coal Board Film Unit plus other highlights from the various documentary releases (a Mitchell & Kenyon tram ride, say, Paul Dickson’s near-perfect David, an example of one of the COI’s public information films, and so on) would effectively release them from these shackles and demonstrate the more immediate merits contained within. Great filmmaking is great filmmaking, but sometimes the audience has to be a pushed a little into making that realisation.
In lieu of any such sampler we do, however, have Tales from the Shipyard which more than any of the BFI’s British documentary releases to date does a fine job of demonstrating this web of interconnections. Time and again we find the presence of individual titles which relate back to previous releases or further demonstrate particular areas. Indeed, the trend is set with the very first inclusion, The Launch of HMS Albion at Blackwall, which records the same events as R.W. Paul’s The Launch of HMS Albion from a different standpoint. Continue through the discs and we find three Mitchell & Kenyon actualities to complement the previous M&K volumes; the presence of John Grierson, Edgar Anstey and Paul Rotha amongst the credits, all of whom figured largely on the Land of Promise set; likewise Jack Howells’ The Sea Shall Test Her relates to the Shadows of Progress project (he had a dedicated chapter in the accompanying book); there are examples of the British Transport Films and National Coal Board Film Units; Halas and Batchelor’s We’ve Come a Long Way apes the manner in which their animations were incorporated into The Bird and the Bees and the MisinforMation release; the political underpinnings of The Bowler and the Bunnet and UCS 1 tie in nicely with The Miners’ Campaign Tapes (which also saw the involvement of the Amber Film Collective who were responsible for Launch); and the inclusion of a rare, previously unseen Bernard Braden interview amongst the bonus features mirrors those similar pieces featured across a number of the Flipside discs.
To sample Tales from the Shipyard is therefore to sample the BFI’s British documentary output as a whole. So whilst it more than ably provides the historical overview of shipbuilding over almost a century and throws up numerous cinematic highlights in the process - whether it be the purely visual thrills of an immense ship being launched into the sea or Sean Connery delivering a wonderfully muscular voice-over and declaring Glasgow as the place where they “make love and make ships” - it also works beyond the confines of the set itself. Tales from the Shipyard should be seen as a jumping off point for those intrigued by British documentary filmmaking and hopefully provide the spur to check out further BFI releases. If you are impressed by Berth 24, say, then head immediately to the British Transport Film compilations; if the Mitchell & Kenyon titles excite your imagination, then there are a number of other volumes (and a BBC documentary) out there to investigate. Put simply, their numerous highlights are simply waiting to be discovered.
Tales from the Shipyard maintains the high standards seen across the board on the BFI’s previous documentary releases. The 21 films (and on-disc extra) are spread over two DVD-9s and encoded for Region 0. Each title is preserved by the BFI National Archive or, in the case of Seawards the Great the Ships and RMS Queen Mary Leaves the Clyde by the Scottish Screen Archive and Launch by Amber Films, and as such comes from the best materials available. Indeed, this becomes immediately apparent when viewing the rich colours of Seawards or the near-pristine quality of the Mitchell & Kenyon films. Of course, given the age of some of these films, there is some unavoidable damage in the form of damaged frames or an occasional buzz on selected soundtracks, but never to any overall detrimental effect. A film such as The Launch of HMS Albion at Blackwell, for example, easily transcends any issues thanks to the striking nature of its visuals. More importantly, the BFI have maintained original aspect ratios and soundtracks (in all cases 1.33:1 and mono, respectively) whilst their transfers demonstrate no discernible technical flaws. As far as standard definition presentations of these films go, it is unlikely they will ever be bettered. (As a side note it’s worth mentioning that Seawards the Great Ships has also been included on Panamint’s Faces of Scotland Blu-ray, a review of which can be found on this site here.)
Note that English subtitles for the hard of hearing are not present. Also, all of the silent inclusions have been provided with newly composed soundtracks by Stephen Horne.
The primary addition to the films is the presence of a typically meaty and fully illustrated booklet totalling 44 pages and containing a wealth of information. Each of Tales from the Shipyard’s inclusions gets its own individual entry, complete with full credits and a consideration of both its cinematic and historical merits. Alongside these entries we also have an introductory essay by Ian Whitehead (Keeper of Maritime History for Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums), the BFI’s Bryony Dixon offering up a consideration of shipbuilding films of the silent era, and a piece by Dr. Hugh Murphy, editor of The Mariner’s Mirror, providing an historical overview of shipbuilding from the 1870s to the 1970s.
The other addition is an excerpt from a Sean Connery interview conducted by Bernard Braden in 1967. As with the other Braden pieces seen on BFI discs (primarily on their Flipside titles), this was originally intended for a series entitled Now and Then, in which he would ask his subjects to return a number of years later for a follow-up interview thus encompassing their changes in fortune and changes of opinion. The series never came to fruition, yet its mandate should demonstrate that these are no mere ‘puff-piece’ exercises intended to promote whatever the subject was working on during that time. From the extract which appears here, we find Connery discussing The Bowler and the Bunnet, which he had recently completed, and the issues surrounding its making, mainly involving labour relations. As with all of the previous Braden extracts released onto BFI discs, it makes for an interesting ten minutes with a little charm thrown in thanks to the unedited nature of the rushes.
The Launch of HMS Albion at Blackwall (1898, Prestwich Manufacturing Company, 1 min)
Employees Leaving Messrs Vickers and Maxim’s in Barrow (1901, Mitchell and Kenyon, 2 mins)
Workforce of Scott & Co. Shipyard, Greenock (1901, Mitchell and Kenyon, 2 mins)
The Launch of HMS Dominion (1903, Mitchell and Kenyon, 2 mins)
King Edward VII Launches HMS Dreadnought from Portsmouth Dockyard (1906, Charles Urban Trading Company, 2 mins)
SS Olympic (1910, Kineto, 8 mins)
Topical Budget 87-2: The Launch of HMS Lowestoft (1913, Topical Film Company, 1 min)
Visit of Their Majesties the King and Queen to the North-East Coast Shipbuilding and Engineering Works on the Wear (1917, Gaumont Company, 13 mins)
RMS Queen Mary Leaves the Clyde (1936, Gaumont Company, 2 mins, extract from Mauretania and RMS Queen Mary)
Shipyard (1935, d. Paul Rotha, 24 mins)
Chains (1939, Birmingham Commercial Films, 13 mins)
Tyneside (1941, Liberty Films, 17 mins)
Steel Goes to Sea (1941, d. John E. Lewis, 16 mins)
The Little Ships of England (1943, Spectator Short Films, 13 mins)
Shipyard for Colliers (1948, d. Peter Pickering, 2 mins, extract from Mining Review 2nd Year No. 3)
Berth 24 (1950, d. J.B. Holmes, 41 mins)
We’ve Come a Long Way (1951, ds. Allan Crick & Bob Privett, 10 mins)
The Sea Shall Test Her (1954, d. Jack Howells, 18 mins)
Seawards the Great Ships (1960, d. Hilary Harris, 29 mins)
A Great Ship (1962, d. John Reeve, 29 mins)
The Bowler and the Bunnet (1967, d. Sean Connery, 36 mins, re-edited version)
UCS 1 (1971, Cinema Action, 22 mins)
Launch (1974, ds. Murray Martin & Peter Roberts, 11 mins)
A century of shipbuilding, a century of superb British documentaries.