Film ID:
NEFA 19718



Visitor Tabs


Film footage shot for William Gray & Company Ltd of the launch of the cargo ship Irish Elm on the 29th July 1953, built for Irish Shipping Ltd., Dublin. The first film shows dignitaries arriving at the launch platform and the ship blessed by a Catholic priest. Mrs E.T. McCarron performs the naming of the ship with the customary bottle of champagne. The second film, shot from a different viewpoint, includes dignitaries enjoying pre-launch drinks and the launch ceremony of the Irish Elm. 

Title: Launch of the Irish Elm built for Irish Shipping Company Ltd. Wednesday 29th July 1953.

The film opens with a view of the Irish Elm on the slipway.

A group of dignitaries make their way along the quayside, past a group of onlookers and onto the launching platform. A bouquet is presented to Mrs E.T. McCarron.

A photographer poses the group for a portrait, standing nearby the Reverend Francis Dunne and a number of altar boys.

The Reverend Dunne comes forward.

Title: Blessing by the Rev. Francis Dunne M.A.... send Thy holy angel from Heaven to guard this ship...

The priest blesses the ship with holy water.

Title: Christening by Mrs E.T. McCarron. 'I name this ship 'Irish Elm'

Mrs McCarron poses for the photographer with the champagne bottle. She is joined by her husband and they pose together.

Mrs McCarron attempts to smash the bottle against the bow of the Irish Elm but it doesn't break. A woman catches the bottle as it swings back.

The camera focuses on the name Irish Elm on the ship's bow. Mrs McCarron is on the launch platform.

The ship slides down the slipway into the water of Central Dock dragging its holding chains.

Now in the dock, members of the crew on board Irish Elm work with ropes attached to a tug boat at the rear, moving the vessel towards a berth. A crowd of onlookers standing on a quayside in the foreground are watching.

A large cake stands on a table, decorated in icing with a reproduction of the Irish Elm. Outside, the photographer poses the large group of dignitaries beside a shipyard office block.

Title: Vessel built and film produced by William Gray & Co Ltd West Hartlepool

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The second film begins with a man giving a speech to a small crowd in a boardroom. A toast is made and a second man gives a speech.

Two men chat on the launching platform as other dignitaries walk past.

General view of the Irish Elm in dock, filmed from a different location from the first film.  Back on the launch platform, a man in a bowler hat looks down on the slipway. The Irish Elm slides down the slipways.

A crowd looks up towards the crew on the Irish Elm as men on board assist the tug boats with ropes to tow the ship. 

[Black and white film]

The film ends with a brief view of a man using a large brush to lubricate a large section of metal as it moves through an industrial lathe.