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I Remember, I Remember (clip 7)

John Grierson introduces 'The Big Mill' about steel manufacturing at Ravenscraig

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A masterclass from documentary pioneer, John Grierson and his life spent in documentary film-making, including his early life in Stirling. This film which takes the form of a masterclass was screened at the 1968 Edinburgh Film Festival to mark John Grierson's 70th year and his importance to the development of the Scottish film and TV industry. In this clip Grierson introduces a clip from 'The Big Mill' featuring the production of sheet steel at the Ravenscraig and Gartcosh Works of Colvilles Ltd. Lanarkshire. Ravenscraig steel works produced steel in many forms - to make cars and desks, bridges and ships for worldwide markets. Go to clip 8 of this film.

Questions & Activities


  • Which was made first the documentary or the soundtrack?
  • This is a film about steel production, what is surprising about it? Does it remind you of anything?
  • Most documentaries tell a story from beginning to end. How do you think the cameraman and director cleverly achieved this?


Music / Media Studies: Listen to the soundtrack without the image. Try to suggest what the film would be about. Then watch the clip and see the actual content. What surprises you?

Expressive Arts: There is some fantastic use of camera and colour in this clip. Choose your three favourite sections and explain why you have picked them.

Music: Watch the clip again and create a list of any words that come into your mind associated with the soundtrack.

Expressive Arts / English: Take a section of film and list the colours, shapes and patterns that you see. Suggest what these are designed to make you feel. As a follow up write an emotion poem based on one of the emotions you have identified.

Art and Design: Ask the children to bring in a small object and explode a detail of it onto either A4 or A3. Focus to be given to line, shading and texture.

List the things you think may be made of steel, then research steel manufacturing to see if you were correct. Present your findings to the class.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-289-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 2232
Date 1968
Genre Documentary, Tv Doc
School Subject Media Studies, Geography, Biology, Science, Technologies
Subject Matter Rivers and Coasts
Who Films of Scotland (sponsor), James Sutherland (director), John Grierson (writer), Laurence Henson (director (The Big Mill), ), Scottish Television (production company), Templar Film Studies (production company (The Big Mill), )
Where Gartcosh, Lanarkshire, Ravenscraig
Event Edinburgh Film Festival
Attributes Black and White, Colour, Sound
Clip Length 6:22
Film Length 53:08