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Young audiences to experience 20th century Wales on film in the classroom

A pioneering heritage resource for Foundation Phase to Key Stage 4 is available for public screenings Wales-wide.

The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales (NSSAW), at The National Library of Wales (NLW), launch the first educational and public screening resource based exclusively on Welsh archival films, in partnership with Ffilm Cymru Wales and Film Hub Wales.

All 34 films and extracts are from the collection of The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales at The National Library of Wales, and feature films from the 1920s, up to the 1970s.

The resource features:

34 short films in a pack of 5 DVDs, each presenting a curated themed programme: Communities and Neighbourhoods, The World of Work, High Days and Holidays, School Days and Playtime and War and Peace.

A curriculum-related resource pack with ideas for classroom activities (suitable for Foundation Phase through to Key Stage 4) and group discussion, as well as notes on the films themselves.


The films exude a palpable sense of place, rooted in Welsh locations from Brynsiencyn to Butetown, Dolgarrog to St Dogmaels. The topics are diverse, richly layered and resonate with life in Wales today. ‘Children’, for example, includes an energetic boys’ walking race in Aberystwyth (1920s), the arrival of forlorn evacuees at Machynlleth (1930s), life at a Colwyn Bay girls’ boarding school and a kids’ idyll on a north Wales farm (both 1950s).

Iola Baines, Moving Image Curator at NSSAW: “The aim in launching this resource is to introduce young people and screen audiences to some of the hidden gems we preserve in the Archive; treasures which reveal so many fascinating facets of how people in Wales lived, worked and enjoyed themselves throughout the 20th century.

As Archive staff we know how brilliantly films like these can support learning across a range of subjects, breathing life not just into history, but a host of other subjects too – so we wanted to share the message and show how it can be done!”

NSSAW hope that the resource will also capture the imagination of cinema and festival programmers Wales-wide, offering general and community audiences the chance to dip into Wales’s rich film heritage on the big screen. Audiences might discover a short archive film before the main feature, or a special evening of themed films. ‘School Days and Playtime’ might be apt at this time of year!

Iola Baines explains “We see this as an exciting opportunity to inspire audiences of all kinds - from film fans who love the magic of the big screen, to members of history societies and other special interest groups – and to present something truly unique and a little different to what people are used to seeing.

One thing is certain – the films are a sort of time-machine that will transport viewers and trigger all sorts of reactions, from joy to sadness, from sobering reflection to pure nostalgia….perhaps we should all have popcorn and hankies at the ready!”

The films range from early actuality film, amateur and home movie productions, promotional and advertising films, to drama and documentary productions. Some are sound films, while others are originally silent (several with intertitles), with music track added by NSSAW. The Welsh language films have English subtitles.

Hana Lewis, Film Hub Wales Strategic Manager: “This impressive resource demonstrates how accessible and adaptable film is as a tool for learning. We have an opportunity to teach young film audiences of the future about Wales’ rich cultural history and to share stories across the generations that may otherwise be forgotten.

As our countryside, traditions and trades evolve, Wales wide and across the world, it is increasingly important to remember our past.”

Nicola Munday, Audience, Education and Regeneration Manager at Ffilm Cymru Wales: “Ffilm Cymru are proud to have supported the National Screen and Sound Archive in developing this remarkable resource for young people, bringing Wales’s rich heritage out of the archive and onto the big screen. We continue to invest in the importance of film education across Wales, both inside and outside of the classroom. With the resource now widely available to schools, Ffilm Cymru hopes that it will help future generations to join us in celebrating the fascinating on-screen history of Wales.”

For more information please contact The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales on 01970 632828 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DVD packs available from NSSAW for exhibitors and educational leaders – telephone or email as above to request details

Resource with curriculum-related activities available as a PDF download from HWB