Overend collection

Repository: Irish Film Archive

Identity Statement

TitleOverend collection
Archive ReferenceIE IFA/15
Web Link to this Entryhttps://iar.ie/archive/overend-collection
Creation Datesc1930-1959
Extent Medium41 rolls of 16mm film


Creator(s): Naomi and Letitia Overend

  • Administrative History ↴

    Letitia (1880-1977) and Naomi Overend (1900-1993) were daughters of a prominent Dublin solicitor, Trevor Overend, and his wife Lily (nee Butler). In 1894 Trevor bought Airfield House and estate in Dundrum. Letitia Overend became a member of the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade in 1912 and worked there for 35 years, becoming Superindendent In Chief. She had a great interest in cars, and when she died she was the longest continuous owner of a Rolls Royce, which she had bought in 1927. Naomi Overend trained as an accountant in order to oversee the running of the Estate. Like Letitia she had a great interest in motorcars, and both sisters were members of vintage motoring clubs. Despite an age difference of 20 years, Letitia and Naomi shared many interests aside from motorcars, including gardening, cattle breeding and travel. They were also involved with charity work including The Irish War Hospital Supply Depot, and were instrumental in the establishment of the Children’s Sunshine Home in Stillorgan, County Dublin with its founder Dr. Ella Webb. The sisters never married and lived at Airfield all of their lives. On her death in 1993, Naomi Overend bequeathed the 35 acre Airfield Estate to the Irish nation and it is now open to the public as Airfield House and Farm. The Estate is administrated by the Airfield Trust which donated the film collection to the Archive. A road in Dundrum, Overend Way, is named after the sisters.
  • Archival History ↴

    Donated by the Airfield Trust
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Naomi and Letitia Overend ↴

    The Overend Collection was filmed during the 1930s and ‘50s, and comprises 41 rolls of 16mm film and three VHS tapes. It consists mostly of amateur travelogue footage, much of which features the Overend sisters Letitia and Naomi on holiday – frequently on board cruise ships. A large portion of the collection is devoted to maritime activities, recreational and occupational, and features exotic high seas locations and the Allied naval fleets just before the Second World War. The collection includes four newsreel films (British Movietone) depicting events relating to George VI.

    The amateur films share the theme of transport, primarily by sea and much of the footage has a kinetic feel, having been filmed from moving vehicles (boats, motorcars, steam trains, trams and even a rickshaw) and from ships. Cruise destinations include ports of call in Panama, Australia, India and Egypt.

    Having perhaps the most foreign locations of any amateur collection held by the IFA, the Overend Collection captures exotic sights including the Acropolis in Athens, the Grand Canyon of Nevada, Pyramids of Eygpt, Bridges of Panama, the Washington DC Monument & surrounds, and what possibly are the arches of the Taj Mahal in India.

    The second tranche of the collection includes films depicting the Sisters recreating at home in Airfield, playing with pets, posing with their Rolls Royce, and enjoying their beautifully tended gardens. Domestic events attended by the sisters include weddings and showjumping. One snippet of film shows the sisters climbing a rock incline in their marture years. The sisters’ humanitarian interest is reflected in a Knights of the Order of Malta Parade filmed in the 1930s.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    Due to the nature of the collection little arrangment required

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Contact the Irish Film Archive for further information
Creation Datesc1930-1959
Extent Medium41 rolls of 16mm film

Allied Materials

Related MaterialAirfield house has a museum displaying the Overend sisters’ prized vintage motorcars.

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteGavin Martin
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions2011