Memories of the Union Films of the Past

I thought some of you might be interested to see an email I have just received from somebody who had read Dan Webb’s recent article in the Wessex Scene about the History of Union Films.


A friend and fellow Southampton graduate recently visited the university and picked up a copy of Wessex Scene dated 25 February which he has passed on to me knowing my involvement in Union Films. 

I was Union Films Secretary (a position which combined the two posts of Head Projectionist and Film Secretary that you appear to have now) in 1970-71 and am still in contact with Pete Major who was Secretary in 1969-70. Pete was responsible for the purchase of two Gaumont British Type N 35mm projectors which enabled us to show most films in 35mm rather than 16mm. Union Films was run as a film society with only members being admitted. Two films a week were shown during term time, a “popular film” on Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon and evening and a “cultural” film on Wednesday afternoon and evening. Union Films was very popular with membership, which was limited by the capacity of the Debating Chamber, selling out within a day.

 I have a number of particular memories including the copy of Night Mail sent to us by the Post Office Film Library which turned out to be on highly flammable nitrate stock, screening the British premiere of Brewster McCloud, showing a film in the Nuffield Theatre to an audience of students who were holding a sit-in there, and the audience leaving in total silence after watching The War Game.

 The busiest week of the year was in the Summer when Motion 70 (or whichever year), the national student film festival, was held at Southampton – a week of student film competitions, film screenings and speakers.

I’m glad to see that Union Films is still flourishing and still showing horror films – we used to show them at 1.00 a.m. on Saturday nights after whatever event in the Union had finished!



Hugh Meteyard, Creative Media Video Services for Education

To contact the current Union Films Film Secretary, Rich Blake, email Union Films has a fantastic range of films on offer, with super cheap tickets and refreshements. You can even take your pizza and drink in with you from the Stags’ Head.

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2 Comments on "Memories of the Union Films of the Past"

  1. Charlotte
    Grace Allingham
    16/03/2011 at 12:49 pm Permalink

    This is fantastic! It’s so great to hear from SUSUites of the past, it would be great if we could see more of this… do I see a potential Wessex Scene special?

  2. Charlotte
    Daniel Webb
    17/03/2011 at 9:31 pm Permalink

    Unfortunately not this year Grace. Only one issue left and it is our special edition. Maybe next year, or just online though!! x

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