Steel Chest, Nail in the Boot and the Barking Dog

Remembering the shipyards at the Strand

On Saturday 22nd February 2020, shipyard workers and their families gathered in the Strand Arts Centre to watch Steel Chest, Nail in the Boot and the Barking Dog (1986) by David Hammond. After the screening, documentary film maker Brian Henry Martin (whose father worked in the shipyard) hosted the Q&A with two ex-shipyard workers Frank Higgins and Rodney McCullough. The audience agreed that it was wonderful to see the shipyards and the local characters on the big screen and how important and urgent it is to keep capturing these stories from that shipyard generation. 

During the Q&A Frank and Rodney shared stories, then took questions from the audience. The photographs that were shown at the event and reproduced here are by Bill Kirk (the stills photographer for the documentary). Bill gained access to the famous shipyard in 1986 and documented the workers and the yard with his usual empathy and skill.

Mr Hammond's daughter, Catherine Gifford, worked as a production assistant on  Steel Chest, Nail in the Boot and the Barking Dog, said this collection is a chance for the people of Belfast to explore and appreciate the city's history. "People see these big cranes every day and they tend to overlook the work that went on under their noses. These stories, and the kind of work that went on there, will never be heard of again. These are three very different films but they all give an insight into what life was like. This is part of our heritage.”

This event wouldn’t have been possible without the support from Flying Fox Films, Northern Ireland Science Festival, Film Hub NI, Bill Kirk, Belfast Archive Project and the Strand Arts Centre.

Steel Chest, Nail in the Boot and the Barking Dog (1986) is a Flying Fox Films Production for Channel 4. 

Boat Builders (2017) is a New Notions Production for Northern Ireland Screen and Film Hub NI. 

Frank Higgins and Rodney McCullough (2020) is a recorded Q&A by the Strand Arts Centre and Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive. 


Project Media

© 2017 Northern Ireland Screen. All Rights Reserved.