A programme of historic films never before seen on the big screen will premiere at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth on Wednesday, May 17.

As part of its Museum Late series the museum is partnering with the British Film Institute to host the screening of Britain on Film: Coast and Sea, a celebration of life lived near, by and in the sea.

The series of films takes audiences around the country’s gorgeous, varied coast in films from 1901 to 1978, including forays on the promenade at classic British holiday resorts including Weston-Super-Mare, Morecambe and Skegness, a visit to Butlin’s in Brighton and 1930s surfing in Newquay.

Viewers can learn about lifeboats via the RNLI’s brisk, engaging promo, the private life of seabirds in Julian Huxley’s pioneering, Oscar-winning short film, and explore the world of shipbuilding with the construction of the SS Olympic.

A particular highlight is Claude Friese-Greene’s lush travelogue around the south west in re-coloured footage from the 1920s.

The evening also offers the opportunity to explore the stories in the museum’s Cornwall and the Sea gallery. Here visitors can discover how Cornish people have made a living from the sea, how local craft were built and who sailed in them. Exhibits explore Falmouth’s role in global communication and trade, along with the development of Cornwall’s migratory links around the world. Witness the stories of dramatic rescues off the Cornish coast.

Seth Hall, formal learning and community engagement officer at the museum, said: “These films portray a unique picture of the United Kingdom, both people and place, giving audiences unprecedented access to the UK’s cinematic coastal history on film, featuring work never-before-seen since first release and we’re really happy to be hosting the premiere. This is the first time many of these films will have been seen by audiences since they were first shown.”

Jemma Buckley, project manager of Britain on Film on Tour, said: ‘Britain on Film on Tour captures the history of the nation in a way that words and pictures can’t. Watching these moving images is in itself an incredibly moving experience, especially when that experience is shared with others as we hope it will be by communities across the country. Coast and Sea is one of our most varied and exciting tour programmes, and we’re excited to see what new audiences will discover.”

Britain on Film: Coast and Sea is at the National Maritime Museum on Wednesday, May 17, from 7pm to 10pm, and tickets cost £6.

There are only 100 tickets available and they go on sale from 5pm on Monday, May 8, at nmmc.co.uk