Sam Hanna Collection

The Sam Hanna Collection can be found at the North West Film Archive. The North West Film Archive is Britain's largest public collection outside London. The Archive was set up in 1977 and is the professionally recognised home for moving images made in or about Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire.

For over sixty years Sam Hanna was active in his hobby and lifelong passion, cinematography. His filmmaking activities date back to the 1930s, covering more than half a century of ancient crafts and local events surrounding the town of Burnley, (Lancashire, UK). Filmed by Sam Hanna himself, the collection vividly brings to life those bygone days when things were so different from today.

This unique film archive contains priceless material, including films of long-forgotten crafts such as brushmaking, clay-pipe making, coopering, tanning, hay creel making, corn dolly manufacture, clock making and his personal favourite, charcoal burning.

In 1957 Sam was at Turf Moor (Burnley Football Club’s home ground) to capture unique colour footage of the Manchester United Football team, famously known as the ‘Busby Babes’. This is the only colour material of the team before the tragic 1958 air accident in Munich, Germany, which killed five members of the team, including the legendary Duncan Edwards.

He also recorded the visits of several members of the royal family to Burnley from the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II in 1945 through to the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of 1977, the visit of Prince Charles in 1984 and the return of the Queen in 1986.

These are just some of the elements that contribute to approximately 70 hours of footage.

Highlights of the footage include:

Old English Crafts

Village Blacksmith Tyring a wheel - The blacksmith is shown as he fits iron tyres to cart wheels.

Village Blacksmith shoeing a horse - The village smithy as he makes the shoes, and later fits them to the waiting horse.

Clay Pipe Making - The stages from the raw clay to the finished pipe are shown.

Coopering - The making of an oak cask.

Clogger - The making of a complete pair of Lancashire clogs is shown in detail.

Clog Block Maker - The last of the clog-block makers is seen as he sets out to fell an alder tree and convert it into clog blocks.

Clog Iron Maker - The last of the clog-iron makers manufacturing men’s ‘iron’ clogs.

Modern Clog Making - The mass production of Lancashire clogs in a factory in Todmorden, Lancashire.

The Village Tannery - The production of leather uppers for Lancashire clogs.

Handloom Weaving - Wool from local sheep is spun and dyed, and the weaver is seen at her loom making her cloth.

Potter - The processes involved in making clay pots.

Besom Maker - In the north of England besoms (brooms) were made of ling (heather), this film shows the manufacturing of these brooms.

Dry Stone Walling - Such walls pattern the countryside of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The walls are built of local stone, grit or limestone without the use of mortar.

Making Stained Glass - The making of stained glass windows is followed through all the stages, from the design to the finished window.

Slate Quarry - In North Lancashire, amongst the mountains of the Lake District, we see the processes of obtaining slate from the heart of the mountain for the roofing of houses.

Saddler - The making of saddles and harnesses for horses.

Horn Works - The cutting and shaping of horns for knives, forks, spoons, and table decorations.

Lancashire Rake Maker - The craftsman is shown in an old Bobbin Mill in the Furness District producing his own design of Lancashire rakes.

Tadley Rake Maker - The making of rakes in Tadley, Hampshire.

Basket Making - The making of the traditional swill basket of the Lake District from oak timber.

Making Hay Creels - These are made from hazel wood and rope and enable the farmer to carry a large amount of hay around the bleak hills.

Rope Making - The rope maker is seen at work, making ropes for the farmer and weaving harness bands for horses.

Snuff Making - The process of making camphorated/menthol snuff from imported tobacco leaves.

Haffe Net Fishing - Fishing for Salmon using a haffe net in the River Lune Estuary near Lancaster, Lancashire.

Hand made Files - The making of files by hand in Warrington, Lancashire.

Brush Making - Established in Burnley, Lancashire 1854, brushes were still being made by hand in the workshop.

Corn Dolly Making - The making of corn dollies near Preston, Lancashire, in shapes influenced by the area.

Rush Seating - The making of seats for ladder-back chairs, from rushes imported from Holland.

Oat Cake Making -The making of oval shaped cakes from a batter of oat meal, water and salt in a family-run bakery near Preston, Lancashire.

Charcoal Making - Members of a family of Charcoal Burners producing charcoal at Grizedale Forest in the Lake District.

Clock Making - The restoration of an antique clock.

Sculptor - The sculptor shaping clay, with a spatula and his fingers, to create a likeness of the head of his sitter.

Burnley Weaving Shed - The production of coloured woven cloth at Barden Mill in Burnley, Lancashire.


Unique colour footage of the “Busby Babes”, Burnley vs Manchester United (1957)

Burnley Football Club - matches, celebration reaching 1947 FA Cup Final

School Football at Turf Moor (Burnley F.C.), 1940/1950

Life Saving Classes at Rosegrove Baths, Burnley, Lancashire, 1944

New Physical Education for Junior Schools introduced in the early 1950s - Filmed in colour at a school in Blackburn, Lancashire showing children practising their agility skills.

Burnley Grammar School - Sports Day / Cricket match, 1961 - Scenes from the annual school sports day including; 100 metre heats, putting the shot, hop, step and jump, middle distance running, high jump. Also a cricket match against School Old Boys.

Knur and Spell (poor man's golf) moor above Skipton, Yorkshire


Hospital Carnival, 17th September 1932

Burnley's Last Tram, 7th May 1935

"Maid of the Mountain" - Filmed at Victoria Theatre in Burnley, Lancashire, with on stage and back stage scenes.

Street Games

Home Guard, 1940-44

Church "Walking Days"

Burnley Safety First Campaign "Careless Play", 1943

Post war Burnley

Visit by Red Dean

Pendle Witch Country, 1946

Lord Rowallan Chief Scout at Huntroyde, 1947

Milton Thomas - Burnley Chemist and Photographer

Wilfred Pickles in Colne

General Election, 1950

Burnley Convent

Bronze Age Site - The dig takes place on the moors above Burnley in 1950. Diggers unearth several Bronze Age relics, including an arrowhead, axe, urn and bones

Festival of Britain Celebrations, 1951

Burnley, Colne, Clitheroe

Girls’ Friendly Society Coronation Display, 9th May 1953

Colour film of the display at Ewood Park, Blackburn Football Club, includes games, dances, and a Scottish Pipe Band.

Circus in Town - Elephants parade through town centre of Burnley

Felling Burnley's factory chimneys

New Fields for Industry, 1957 - Burnley people at work and play

Nurse Recruitment Film, 1963

Nurse Training Facilities available in Burnley and District Hospitals.

Summer Camps - Burnley Grammar School


Heysham Head, 1943

Blackpool, 1945/1951

Lake District, 1947-1960s

Swiss Landsgeminde at Hardcastle Crags, Hebden Bridge, 1952

Civic Welcome to Swiss, 1956

CHA & HF Holidays, 1950s

Lancaster, Preston, Morecambe, Southport, 1960s

Yorkshire Coast

Yorkshire Dales

Totnes, Dawlish, Porlock, Burn's Country Scotland, Isle of Arran, Bournemouth, Ribble Valley

People At Work

Lambert Howarth Slipper Works, Burnley, Lancashire

Lucas Engineering Works

Victory V Works, Nelson, near Burnley, Lancashire - Many of the various sweet making processes, to the finished product being packed and sent in a delivery van.

Ron Carter - blacksmith Simonstone

Special Interest

Story of Billy Holt and his horse Trigger - Billy Holt of Todmorden, Lancashire, was a famous writer and artist and went everywhere on his horse, Trigger - even abroad.

Pendle sheep farm - The sheep and lambs are shown in early spring, as well as hand shearing methods and dipping of the sheep.

Children’s films: "What the Cat saw" - A cat is seen looking under a door and she sees a family of mice.

Children’s films: "Mother and son" - A mare and foal are seen walking, running, and feeding.

V.E. Day celebrations, 1945 - Crowds in front of Burnley Town Hall, street parties and bonfires.

Royal Visits

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II visit Burnley

Sam films his own father being presented to the King and Queen, 1945.

Duke of Edinburgh's visit to Lilleshall Hall, Shropshire, 1950

Royal visit, 1968

Silver Jubilee Celebrations, 1977

Prince Charles visit, 1984

Queen's visit, 1986