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New Forest DVDs

New Forest Films now on DVD

For the first time ever, some rarely seen New Forest films have been put onto DVD and are available from the New Forest Centre.  They retail at £8 and can be ordered here.

Sponsored by ExxonMobil, these are the first four volumes of what we hope will become a longer series of local history film releases:

NF Film Archive Vol 1 small

VOLUME 1 Fawley Achievement (1951, B&W, 40 mins)

A tribute to the vision, skill, and energy of those who built Fawley Oil Refinery.

The building of the Esso Petroleum Company’s refinery at Fawley was an important part of Britain’s post-war industrial development.  Its official opening in September 1951 by the Prime Minister Mr Clement Attlee confirmed the national significance of the achievement.  This film documents the construction of what was to become the largest refinery in Britain and is a tribute to the vision, skill, and energy of those who worked on the project.

NF Film Archive Vol2 smallVOLUME 2 Oliver Kite’s Fawley (1968, Colour, 28 mins)

A naturalist’s view of the wildlife within Fawley Oil Refinery in the 1960s

Oliver Kite was a well-known naturalist and chalk stream fisherman who presented his own wildlife television on Southern Television during the 1960s.  His soft tones and great knowledge of natural history gave him the title of the ‘television voice of nature’.

Oliver Kite’s Fawley is a personal look at the wildlife through the four seasons at Fawley Refinery on the west bank of Southampton Water.  Within the boundary of the refinery, Kite discovers a great diversity of living things including ponies, adders, a hunting fox and even the refinery’s own flock of sheep.  Contrary to expectation, this industrial setting is revealed to be a wildlife and plant sanctuary.

New Forest Film Archive Vol3 smallVOLUME 3 Forest Heritage (1952, B&W, 21 mins)

A portrait of the landscape, people and traditions of the New Forest in the 1950s.

Forest Heritage is a poetic portrait of life in the New Forest in the 1950s.  The cinematography by Roy Layzell, music by Clifton Parker and commentary by John Snagge combine to make this a gem amongst the documentary ‘shorts’ of the period.  It was commissioned by the Esso Petroleum Company in 1952, just as they were establishing a new refinery on the eastern edge of the New Forest at Fawley, but Forest Heritage is entirely concerned with the natural beauty and traditions of the area: ‘A place out of this modern world where simple pleasures are enough - a miraculous survival of pre-Norman England’.

VOLUME 4 Refinery in Miniature (1951, B&W, 9 mins 35 secs) NFFA DVD Vol4

In 1950, as thousands of workers descended on Fawley to build a new refinery, a much smaller construction team set about building a model of the same thing.  This film documents the making of the 1:384 scale miniature refinery which took three men over a year to complete.  It was then exhibited at Southampton's Festival of Britain Show in 1951 before being installed in teh refinery Administration Building.


Refinery at Work (date unknown, B&W/colour, 21 mins, 58 secs)

An educational film about the processes behind oil refining, shot partly at Esso's new Fawley Refinery.  The chemistry is explained with the use of some quirky colour animations set in an otherwise black and white film.  Listen out for the music by Benjamin Frankel and the voice of Maurice Denham.

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