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Customer Review

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember when Britain built ships ?, 23 Mar. 2011
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This review is from: Tales from the Shipyard [DVD] (DVD)
As I write this, there is only one other review for the set and the reviewer was clearly not too impressed. I have a rather different view so felt inclined to provide an alternative perspective ... it will be interesting to see where the balance of opinion eventually lies.

The contents are described quite adequately on the web page so I won't repeat it, suffice to say it is an miscellaneous collection of pieces from as far back as 1900 to the late 1960's, featuring ship-launching, building, engineering, and some related topice. Included are early newsreel, docudrama, industrial films (BP & the British Iron & Steel Federation) amongst others, and provides a range of styles and technical content. The packaging and quality is excellent - as we have come to expect from BFI.

As an engineer with an interest in industrial history, I found this set quite exceptional, simply for the detailed presentation of the way things were done 50 or 100 years ago. Chain making by hand, forging, lofting, reversing mills and hot riveting - all as done in a bygone era, even in the submerged arc welding, the excess flux is being vacuumed manually !

The individual pieces are naturally a product of their time so some of the styles seem dated, and some of the quality of the earlier pieces is quite poor - not a criticism of BFI but a complement - I suspect this rare footage would never see the light of day again except in a collection such as this.

I highly recommend it. For over 8 hours of classic material on such a specialist topic is well worth the price asked.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Dec 2012 23:05:17 GMT
Colin Smith says:
Nice review, Julian. Unlike yourself I have no engineering background & this may indeed be specialist material, but I simply love watching how things were constructed in the distant (and not too distant) past.
G.P.O. Film Unit productions are a particular favourite of mine but it doesn't really matter what the subject matter happens to be - the BFI release them & I'm quite content to gobble them up. For some strange reason I still haven't got around to ordering my copy of this, but your insightful review has finally made up my mind to do so.

All the best - Alan.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Dec 2013 22:08:33 GMT
Thanks for the kind comments Alan! My Great grandfather worked in the Wear shipyards around the turn of (the last) century and I had the honour of knowing him as an old man ... I often wonder if he is there in some of these shots. I wish we could get more of this kind of thing !
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