FROM what could be the 'world's first dashcam' to the flowerpot men of Verwood, there are certainly some amazing movies of Dorset in days gone by.

Now you can see them for free - plus 13 others - on a new free-to-view website which went live this week.

Britain on Film is an archive of thousands of clips and movies that have been digitised using National Lottery Funding.

Some the movies are so clear, families could recognise the faces of their own relative in them. Others show Dorset towns and beauty spots, such as Corfe Castle, which have not changed for nearly 90 years.

The films include 'Durdle Door', by Stoll Baily, which was shot in 1925. It shows two campers strolling the Jurassic Coast, panoramic shots of Lulworth and a stop for tea at a yet-to-be identified tea-room. There is also moving footage of a Remembrance Day parade.

Flower-pot making is a film which could, says the BFI, have been shot at Cross Roads pottery in Verwood. It shows apprentices preparing clay by trampling on it, as well as winding the wheels for the expert potters, who used kilns dating from the medieval era.

If your relative was a traffic policeman in Dorset in 1966 he may be one of the stars of the footage which captures cops proudly showing off their 'dashcam'. In reality the contraption is a Brownie camera on the dashboard of a Triumph Herald police car with a mechanism to photograph misbehaving motorists.

One of the most charming movies is that of the well-to-do Craven-Ellis family at play in 1931. William Craven Ellis was the MP for Southampton from 1931-1945. His home-movie, shows the amphibious Saro A19 Cloud, registered G-ABXW Cloud of Iona. This aircraft crashed in mysterious circumstances off Jersey on the night of 31 July 1936 killing all ten on board.

Other films include the 1978 Bridport Carnival, the 1980 Great Dorset Steam Fair and scenes from the set of Far From the Madding Crowd shot in 1967.

Senior Curator of Non-Fiction at the BFI, Patrick Russell, said: “Britain on Film has completely transformed the British public’s access to the archives preserving UK film and TV heritage.

"Over 10,000 films from the archives are now available for everyone in the UK to enjoy – an astonishing range of content, from Edwardian tram rides to wartime public information, from quirky animations to thoughtful documentaries, forgotten feature films to home movies."

"Britain on Film explores a vast range of themes and maps the whole of the UK.

"We live in the moving image age and today’s audiences and filmmakers have so much to be inspired by as they explore this rich treasure trove from the past.”