Journey into the past – all aboard for historical coastal-themed films on the Solent

Passengers on a cross-Solent ferry service will be taken back in time with free showings of historical films from the 1920s to the 1990s.

Oct 9 2017

Red Funnel archive films

The coastal-themed films from Wessex Film and Sound Archive, based at Hampshire County Council’s Record Office, can now be enjoyed by Red Funnel passengers as part of a partnership project with the BFI Film Audience Network. It’s one of a series of nationwide screenings and events at coastal locations to celebrate the launch of ‘Coast and Sea’ - the latest online collection from BFI’s ‘Britain on Film’ project.

Councillor Andrew Gibson, the County Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, said: “These films are fascinating - from historical royal visits and forgotten local landmarks, to smaller eye-catching details such as the clothing and hair styles from across the decades. We are grateful to Red Funnel and the BFI Film Audience Network for this opportunity to showcase these newly digitised films, to thousands of ferry passengers.”

Free film screenings on board Red Funnel ferries will be shown on journeys from Southampton to Cowes until the end of November, with local archive films taken from ‘Britain on Film’ Coast and Sea, including:

  • King George V and Queen Mary opening Southampton’s Graving Dock in 1933
  • Southsea roller rink and seaside fun in Portsmouth in 1946
  • A Red Funnel cinema advert from 1969 promoting its new hydrofoil service
  • Glimpses of the long vanished pier at Shanklin in a film from 1930 of off-duty policemen enjoying time off on the Isle of Wight with their partners.

Jonathan Green, Marketing & Communications Director at Red Funnel, said: “We are thrilled to support BFI’s ‘Britain on Film’ project and think it’s something our customers will really appreciate. The footage curated by the Wessex Film and Sound Archive team is really entertaining and offers a charming glimpse into the history of the South Coast. We will be screening the footage on our vehicle ferries until the end of October, and we hope our customers enjoy them as much as we do.”

Robin Baker, Head Curator, BFI National Archive said: “Britain on Film has been a transformative project for the BFI and our partner archives. It has demonstrated that millions of people across the UK want to engage with their film heritage‎. With over 600 newly added titles, contextualised by curators, exploring lives led and holidays enjoyed around the UK coast, these films feel like a collective memory: part Famous Five adventure, part Carry On film, part pure nostalgia.”

Red Funnel is screening the footage in their North Lounge on board all three of their vehicle ferries, as well as in the Signature Lounge on board Red Falcon and Red Osprey.