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Dumfries Queen of the South

A description of the town of Dumfries in the Borders, the "Queen of the South"

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Sketches and pictures are used throughout the clip to give an idea of the historical importance of Dumfries. There are general shots of scenery. Boys read the inscription on Robert the Bruce's memorial, we then see the ruins of Lincluden College. There are then street signs with further footage of stones and sculptures adding extra historical detail of Robert Burns, with a close up of one of his manuscripts. Shots of road signs point to Dumfries, and a bus arrives in the town followed by various views. We later see trains at Dumfries station, including the Thames Clyde Express. There are then shots of the cattle auction, before we return to the busy town for more footage of shops and goods on sale, including a display of footwear, jewellery, and modern electrical appliances. There is footage of the Post Office vans, the mobile library and the fire brigade, before a montage of signs from other offices that enhance the area. We later see various factories, including the North British Rubber Company, ICI and General Milk Products. Posters then show the wealth of activities that are happening in the town, with a shot of young children descending from a coach, before we see a fairground in full swing. The clip ends with footage of the 'Queen of the South' pageant, including pipe bands and the crowning of the carnival queen.

Questions & Activities


  • Who was Alfred Nobel?
  • What was his Scottish connection?
  • Why is Dumfries called the Queen of the South?
  • What do the street names tell you about the history of the town?


English / Geography: This film was funded by the Scottish Educational Films Association but made during a time when sound recording for low-budget films was still complicated to achieve due to editing and sound synchronization issues. Write your own narration for this film, or discuss what you would write. Then plan and make your own film about the history of your town. Discuss which buildings, landmarks, places, organisations and events you would feature and whether the story could be told without narration to create a snapshot of your town today.

Textiles / Life in the Sixties: List the different types of clothing and technology on view. Discuss which organisations are represented in this film, what is sold in town centres today (and where) and how town centres have changed.

Geography / Social Studies / Community Engagement: Create a walking map for your town, that illustrates your town's history, economy and landmarks.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-147-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 0937
Date 1961
Genre Documentary, Sponsored Documentary
School Subject Social Studies, History, Geography
Subject Matter Media
Who Robert Burns (birthplace), SEFA (production group)
Where Dumfries
Attributes Colour, Silent
Clip Length 9:55
Film Length 9:55