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Title:WOOLWICH ARSENAL AND ITS WORKERS [Main Title]
Film Number:IWM 161
Summary: Munitions manufacture at Woolwich Arsenal West, London, early 1918.
Description: (Reel 1) The arsenal entrance in Beresford Square, with the internal train taking the workers to various departments. Women and boys in the Tailors' Shop make gloves, felt "buttons" for 15-inch shells, and cartridge bags of various sizes. Other women make and assemble time fuses and impact fuses for the various types of shell. (Reel 2) The workers (who, except in the heavy jobs, are women with men as supervisors) making small arms cartridges, showing in detail the process involved in making an 18-pounder shell-case from first casting. (Reel 3) Men in the Leather Shop making leather, canvas and cork items including saddlery and cartridge carrying cases. Logs are brought to the Sawmill where they are cut into sheets, then on to the Carpenters' Shop where they are cut into planks and into the basic shapes for wheels and barrels. (Reel 4) On to the Coopers' Shop where wheels and barrels are repaired. Old, very young and disabled men are seen at work. Inside the Iron Foundry a Bessemer Converter is at work, and steel is shaped using drop hammers and giant shears. (Reel 5) Casting in the Brass Foundry, with guns' ends shaped and bored by an automatic rifling tool, mountings being tested in the Fitters' Shop and finished shells and guns being taken out of the factory by train and barge. The film ends with workers leaving the factory at the end of the day.
Production Details: Ministry of Information (Production sponsor)
Topical Film Company (Production company)
Personalities, Units and Organisations: Woolwich Arsenal (regiment/service)
Keywords: industry, British - primary (object name)
industry, British - munitions: [+] (object name)
industry, British - clothing (object name)
GB, England & London, SE <Woolwich Arsenal> (geography)
Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W (part Tinted)
Sound format: Silent
Soundtrack language: None
Title language: English
Subtitle language: English
Technical Details: Format: 35mm
Number of items/reels/tapes: 5
Footage: 4053 ft; Running time: 68 mins
Notes: Colour: reel 1 is tinted in purple and red, the remaining reels are untinted.
Summary: compare with IWM 460 THE OTHER ITALIAN ARMY, the equivalent film from the Italians, which is technically much more accomplished but also more flamboyant. See also IWM 499, consisting of duplicate material and out-takes, some of which show that the mechanical processes were not always as smooth as the finished film suggests. The Film and Video Archive holds a copy of a programme for a screening of this film at the New Gallery Kinema, Regent Street on 21 March 1918.
Technical: received by the IWM in 1921 as a Spanish export version, UNO DE LOS ARSENALES BRITANICOS, WOOLWICH Y SUS TRABAJADORES, with subtitles that were a direct translation from the English. In 1982 the film was restored to its original English-language version, new subtitles being made from the original records.
Remarks: a very interesting film. The complexity of shell and gun manufacture is well brought out. The tinting on the first reel is beautiful.