News | Friday, 9th November 2018

#Armistice100: North West Film Archive's footage of life on Home Front during First World War

Public invited to view clips as centenary of end of conflict is commemorated

North West Film Archive has a collection of First World War era films showing life on the Home Front
North West Film Archive has a collection of First World War era films showing life on the Home Front

With the centenary anniversary of the end of the First World War approaching, Manchester Metropolitan's North West Film Archive is inviting the public to view its 'wealth of unique material' to learn more about regional life during the 1914-18 conflict.

The archive's various silent black and white clips give a fascinating glimpse into what was happening on the Home Front while soldiers fought on the front line on continental Europe.

It includes conscripts in training, departing soldiers being waved off by their townsfolk, and the unveiling of war memorials across the North West.

Lots of footage from the era was brought from the vault and digitised four years ago in order to produce a themed DVD to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, with actress Maxine Peake narrating, which means wartime material is available to search and, in some cases, view online.

Geoff Senior, Collections Assistant, said:

The North West Film Archive holds within its vaults a wealth of unique material which vividly illustrates life on the home front in the period around the First World War - from industrial toil in the years leading up to the outbreak of war, to key events during the hostilities.  

Holdings include important and rare archive film of such regiments as the Accrington Pals, the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Cheshire Regiment as they prepared for active service on the Western Front. It also includes scenes of recruitment of men in Liverpool, German Prisoners of War in Leigh, and the poignant victory parades and memorial unveilings in the years after the end of the conflict.

Listen to Geoff discussing the Armistice footage and the archive in general on BBC Radio Merseyside's Linda McDermott show

The archive's compelling footage is freely available for the public to view in the Film Pods in Archives+ on the ground floor of Manchester Central Library.

Clips can also be made available to staff and students of Manchester Metropolitan University, as well as to museums, groups, broadcasters and filmmakers. 

As the professionally recognised public home for the moving image heritage of the North West of England, the archive is the custodian of more than 50,000 films from 1890 to the present day.

Its collection comprises cinema newsreels, documentaries, advertising and promotional material,
educational and travel films, home movies, corporate videos and regional television programmes.

The mix of professional and amateur recordings have been donated, saved or gifted for posterity.

Read more #Armistice100 stories and expert analysis from University academics

More news