DVD Reviews

DVD: The Worst Journey in the World

As regular readers will know, I have occasionally reviewed the excellent series of DVD’s produced by Des Cox of Snowbow Productions who has collated and preserved old film footage from the British Merchant Navy. Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Port of Bristol

The Great Port of Bristol

Once again Snowbow have managed to compile a high quality collection of film footage recalling the golden age of British shipping. In this episode the focus is on the port of Bristol. Starting with some remarkably high quality film from the early 20th century one is immediately taken back into an era where all cargo was manhandled and all the docks were bustling with human activity. The many and varied cargoes and companies are all identified as well as the ship yard of Charles Hill and Son. In more recent times the ships of the1950’s -1970’s are very well documented with film from two enthusiastic ship spotters, Ray Perry and the late John Norton. Thanks to them we can now enjoy an endless stream of ships entering the river and the locks of Avonmouth and Portbury. From a pilotage point of view these clips provide a clear indication as to the considerable skills employed by the pilots on the tricky winding river with some impressive tidal flows. To supplement the nostalgia, the DVD also contains an up to date tour of the Avon on board the 1935 tug John King which was built in the Charles Hill yard and is now preserved by the Bristol Industrial Museum as a “living” exhibit providing day trips throughout the year. There is also contempory footage of the ships and trades of Portbury and Avonmouth.

Episode 25 of the “Great Liners” series The Great Port of Bristol

is available in video or DVD formats from the Snowbow website: www.snowbow.co.uk  or:

145 The promenade, Peacehaven, E. Sussex BN10 7HN. Tel/ credit card order line: 01273 585391.

The cost of the video is £16.95 (DVD £17.95) plus 1.00 P&P


These cruises are becoming increasingly popular due to their being organised by seafarers for seafarers. Full details can be obtained from the website:

www.maritime-memories.com  or e-mail: snowbow.productions@virgin.net

Tel: 00 44 (0)1273 585391

or  www.snowbow.co.uk



Great Liners: New Zealand (4)

 It was with delight that I have discovered the “Great Liner” series of videos produced by Snowbow Productions. This remarkable series of videos now form part of the world’s most comprehensive collection of film records of our once glorious Merchant Navy when British ships from an enormous and diverse range of shipping companies were to be found in every port around the World. The searching out and collating of film and archive footage by the director Des Cox started out 15 years ago as a small project to try to collate and preserve as many records as possible of the ships and seafaring life on video before they were lost forever. Being presented on a series of one hour videos the collection, produced by Des, his wife and a small production team have now reached video number 21 with number 22 in the pipeline to be released as funds permit. Like many such projects born from a dedicated purpose and a professional knowledge of the subject matter, the results are more than just a mere record with the images being enlivened by an informative commentary detailing the names of the ships, cargoes carried and contemporary anecdotes. Reviewing the latest video in the series on shipping companies trading to New Zealand the wry commentary revived nostalgic memories of the days when ships still had large crews and jolly Jack Tar made the most of lengthy stays in port to enjoy a good run ashore to sample all the available delights! Interspersed with some contemporary footage of NZ ports and shipping, this video brings the dramatic changes of the last 50 years starkly into perspective. With today’s fast port turnarounds, 24 hour working and virtually no time for shore leave it all begs the question have we really progressed? Watching these videos the answer is a resounding NO! From a pilot’s viewpoint this particular video is worth buying for the last few seconds that depict an acrobatic pilot mimicking Tarzan transferring from the pilot ladder to cutter by means of a single manrope and then vaulting over the cutter‘s rails before giving a cheery wave to the Rangitata leaving NZ waters on its final voyage in 1962. Priceless, and I look forward to being contacted by someone who can provide me with the name of the pilot! The 21 videos so far produced contain footage of all the major shipping companies, much of which has come from private collections never before shown. With each video having a specific theme the contents of each one are too numerous to list here but a catalogue containing full details can be obtained from:

Snowbow Productions (2000) Ltd.

145 The promenade, Peacehaven, E. Sussex BN10 7HN

The cost of each video is :

£16.95 plus £1.00 P&P for the UK, £2.00 EEC and £4.00 overseas.

Tel/ credit card order line: 01273 585391

Fax: 01273 584470

Website: www.snowbow.co.uk

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