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Seawards the Great Ships (clip 3)

Scotland's First Oscar Winner

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The Oscar-winning documentary of shipbuilding on the Clyde, directed by Hilary Harris, treatment by John Grierson. Scenes from the shipyard show how the great ships were built. A spectacular montage of the organised chaos of shipbuilding. Go to clip 4 of this film.

Questions & Activities


  • What different dangerous activities can you see? How does this compare with workplaces today?
  • How many different jobs can you see?
  • Why does the filmmaker include the shot of the seagull?
  • In what different ways does the filmmaker show the personalities of the workers?
  • What techniques are used to give a sense of the scale of the process?


This clip shows a good example of a job production process. Compare with modern shipbuilding techniques. Compare with other types of production process (batch and flow).

Pick a shot which you think is particularly effective and talk about why it has that effect (you could think about sound effects, voice over, music editing, camera movement)?

Compare the Clyde in the film with the modern regenerated Clyde (SECC, Science Centre, Land Use). Create a multimedia essay comparing the changing land use of job types in Glasgow?

Play the film without sound then design a soundtrack to complement the images

Look at art inspired by shipyards or heavy industry and create your own art inspired by this work.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-273-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 2230
Date 1960
Genre Documentary, Sponsored
School Subject Technologies, Art and Design, Media Studies, Geography, History
Who Central Office of Information (sponsor), Clyde Shipbuilders' Association (sponsor), Films of Scotland (sponsor), Hilary Harris (director), John Grierson (writer), Templar Film Studios (production company)
Where River Clyde
Event Heavy Industry
Attributes Colour, Sound
Clip Length 7:39
Film Length 30:00