Building of M1 at Stockman's Lane

Building of M1 at Stockman's Lane

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Belfast, Broadway, M1, Stockman's Lane





02min 52sec







National Museums Northern Ireland. This film was digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage


British Film Institute, Father Hugh Kennedy, National Museums NI

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Father Hugh Kennedy, National Museums NI

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Amateur footage of Northern Ireland's first motorway. When his garden is transformed into Northern Ireland’s first motorway, an amateur filmmaker seizes his camera and his car keys. 

Get behind the wheel with Hugh P. Kennedy and speed round Northern Ireland’s first motorway before it officially opens. Prepare to be thrown as he flagrantly ignores the 'No Entry' signs and drives the wrong way up the new sliproad. Whatever the weather, fly down the M1 from the filmmaker's home at Stockman’s Lane to the Broadway roundabout.

Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage.


The M1 is Northern Ireland’s first and longest motorway. An urban myth was circulated that the straight sections of the M1 were built so that the US Air Force could use them as supplementary runways if war broke out with the Soviet Union. Plans for the motorway were announced in 1946 but work only began in 1959. The filmmaker lived in the house visible in the footage and lost most of the garden to the new M1. He filmed the construction before selling his home to the Ministry. This first stretch opened without ceremony on 10th July 1962. The RUC instigated a vigorous campaign to educate people on how to use the new motorway. Northern Ireland remained free for years from the 70 mph speed limit that was introduced in the UK.



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