Troubled Christmas in Belfast most viewed archive footage

A still image from the Christmas in Belfast (1977) film which has been viewed more than any other in the NI archive
A still image from the Christmas in Belfast (1977) film which has been viewed more than any other in the NI archive
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Christmas Belfast-style at the height of the Troubles has become the most watched local short film released from a government archive.

The captured images provide a snapshot of the city centre, as resilient citizens go about their business against a backdrop of security barriers and heavily armed soldiers on the streets.

Christmas in Belfast (1977) comes complete with the catchline: ‘Not the most wonderful time of year’.

Spanning from 1897 to the present day, the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive is a free public access resource for anyone with an interest in moving images.

The archive – which has been compiled and made public with financial support from the National Lottery – includes newsreels, documentaries, features and amateur footage.

A Twelfth of July in Portrush in 1950, the Belfast punk rock scene in 1979 and an amateur film charting the building work progress on the new M1 motorway at Stockmans Lane in 1961, are also included.

Francis Jones, heritage and archive manager at Northern Ireland Screen, said: “Britain on Film has made a significant contribution to Northern Ireland’s cultural heritage, enriching the content of our Digital Film Archive and increasing public access to that content.

“The films we unearthed through this project trace the arc of moving image history, and our society, over the course of the 20th century.”

The National Lottery has invested £8.7 million into more than 218 film-related projects in Northern Ireland over the past 25 years – ranging from independent films to community-based film clubs.

The archive is available here