Conwy, Wales: Old Photos & Film

Old picture of Conway Castle, Wales, published in 1811

Glimpse history through old images of Conwy, Wales, UK.

Boasting a castle built by Edward I, one of the world’s first suspension bridges and Britain’s smallest house, Conwy in Wales packs a lot of history into a small town.

Not surprisingly, filmmakers headed to the town’s key attractions soon after film cameras became available. Thankfully, that leaves a great visual record almost a century on.

A Pretty Town In 1921

Part of the BFI collection, this very short film from 1921 shows the town’s suspension bridge and castle, with the town beautifully set behind a quiet riverbank. Next we see the riverbank from a different location. Boats sit quietly on the water, while the town and castle form a perfect backdrop.

“Conway – River of a Thousand Moods (1921)” – BFI on YouTube

Steam Engine Past Conwy Castle

This 14 second clip from HuntleyFilmArchives shows a steam engine chugging past the castle in the 1920s.

“Conway Castle Railway, 1920’s – Film 4177” – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Conwy Centenary Celebrations

The Conwy Suspension Bridge, now a Grade 1 listed structure maintained by the National Trust, was opened in 1826 after four years of construction. That made it one of the world’s first suspension bridges.

100 years later a centenary event was filmed. Early steam trains “The Rocket” and “The Cornwall” came out of retirement. Together they transported an historic open carriage full of special guests along the rail next to the castle. Progress was so slow, a man with a flag walked ahead in front.

To compare these old engines with the modern superiority of steam engines, the next clip shows the “Irish Mail” travelling in the same area. Its power and capacity are obvious.

Conway Centenary Celebrations (1927) – British Pathe on YouTube

1930s Conwy Suspension Bridge

In just 15 seconds of this Huntley Archives HD film, we get a clear view of the suspension bridge in the 1930s.

“Conwy Suspension Bridge, 1930’s – Film 96863” – HuntleyFilmArchives on YouTube

Conwy in 1941

This short British Pathé film from 1941 shows a number of locations around Conwy, including:

  • Conwy Castle
  • Suspension bridge
  • Town walls
  • Tudor houses
  • Harbour
  • Smallest house in Britain
  • River Conwy
  • Waterfall at Betws-y-Coed 

“Conway Issue Title – Over To You (1941)” – British Pathe on YouTube

Conwy in the 1970s

This home movie from the 1970s is now part of thekinolibrary collection. 

“1970s Conwy Wales, Home Movies” – thekinolibrary on YouTube

Britain’s Smallest House

This very short clip from ThamesTv is silent but in colour. Inside Britain’s smallest house is a lady dressed in a traditional Welsh costume.

“Britain’s smallest house – Conwy, Wales – 1979” – ThamesTv on YouTube

More about Wales

Back to Conwy Local History Resources page

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