One Man's Day at Work - Short Brothers

One Man's Day at Work - Short Brothers

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Transmission 01/11/1963


10min 31sec





black and white


Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under the Archiving Scheme 2


Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Department for Communities, ITV, UTV Archive

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The film follows the story of Michael (Mike) Stewart's day at work at Short Brothers in Belfast. Filmed 1963, the footage shows him leaving his house to follow the crowds of men to work. Hundreds of men walk and cycle to the factory. External and internal shots of the factory show men working on aircraft - in this case the 'Belfast' model. Michael clocks in and goes with his boss to work on the cockpit area of one of the aircraft. He is then sent to the supplies office to collect a tool.

Michael (Mike) Stewart was one of five apprentices selected out of 800 to interview for a place on the TV programme and after two interviews, he was chosen. He also played football for the NI Youth team and was currently playing for Ballyclare Comrades. Mike had already made his mark at Shorts by being selected to meet Prince Philip in 1961.


The Belfast, built by Short Brothers, is a giant of an aircraft at over 48m (158ft) span and 41m (136ft) long, weighing 56 tons empty and more than twice that when fully loaded; consequently each aircraft was named after a giant, and XR371 was called 'Enceladus'.

Design of this long-range, strategic transport aircraft began in February 1959, with the first flight in January 1964. Only ten, of the originally ordered thirty, 'Belfast's' were built, all for the RAF. The Belfast could carry 150 fully-equipped troops, a Chieftain tank, or two Wessex helicopters. It has enough room in its hold to carry two single deck buses.

It worked all over the world on special flights for the armed forces until phased out of service in 1976. Belfast XR371 was flown to Cosford in the Autumn of 1978. At the time it was commissioned, Short Brothers employed thousands of men in Belfast, but had made 1,000 redundant the year before. 


An Ulster Television production



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