Film ID:
NEFA 21325



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Michael Gough presents a history of the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) as the cine club celebrates its 50th anniversary, illustrated with documentary footage and extracts from their numerous productions, from the foundation of the club in 1927 to 1977.

Title: 50th ACA (over Tyne bridges and searchlight graphics)

ACA member Michael Gough introduces the film to camera “Well we had to start somewhere!”

The film begins with a montage of documentary footage of Newcastle from the late 1920s and early 30s made by the Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) in its early years.

Documented by James Cameron in the late 1920s, a man hops onto the back of a horse-drawn trolley bus for a ride as it pulls off under an iron railway bridge with an advertising hoarding for Nestlé. Several men are hitching a ride on the back of the trolley bus. Beside the bridge there are advertisements for Farole and Andrews Liver Salts. A reverse shot shows the horse-pulled trolley bus emerging on the other side, the Castle Garage located in one of the railway arches.

General view of trolley buses, a cyclist, pedestrians and roadside barrow stall on Market Street looking towards Pilgrim Street and the corner building of Carliol House. General view of Grey Street looking towards Grey’s Monument, a trolley bus and barrow cart in the street. General view of the Paramount Cinema (later the Odeon) on a busy Pilgrim Street, advertising the film “The Lives of a Bengal Lancer” (released in 1935) starring Gary Cooper.

General view of another busy shopping street in Newcastle, filled with men and women, trolley buses (one advertising Bovril), cars and delivery vans.

Portrait shot of James Cameron Senior, founder of the Newcastle ACA, who takes off his glasses and smiles to camera.

Title: ACA

Still of the original founding group of the Newcastle ACA, three young women and three men, including James Cameron Senior, pictured in a casual group photograph.

Exterior shot of Bolbec Hall, the cine club’s first meeting place. Michael Gough presents from the entrance of Bolbec Hall, describing how the idea for one of the ACA films, ‘Bonaventure’, “a fast moving story of international intrigue involving the theft of important papers”, completed in 1931 and shot on 9.5mm film, was first formed at a meeting here.

The film cuts to an extract from the film ‘Bonaventure’, showing an escape and chase scene, the female spy getting away in a bi-plane.

Commentary by Michael Gough to camera whilst outside Leazes Terrace, built by Richard Grainger, describing how the cine club moved to 24 Leazes Terrace in 1936, where they conceived the film ‘Out of the Drum’ (completed 1939).

A scene from the film ‘Out of the Drum’ about winners and losers in the Irish Sweepstake, is then shown, the actress shopping at Georges in Northumberland Street, Newcastle. The commentary states that the secretary uses her winnings to lure her boss into matrimony.

Next an extract is shown of the silent newsreel footage of King George VI coronation celebrations taking place in and around Newcastle in May 1937, produced by Leslie Greaves and Mr Bartlett.

Documentary newsreel footage of British children evacuees hoarded into trains at a station (location not identified), nurses doling out food and drink through the train windows, as they set off to the countryside in 1939 at the beginning of World War Two. The train leaves the station, some children waving handkerchiefs from the windows. The commentary states that Newcastle ACA was a casualty of the war too as film production activities stopped.

Brief shot of a plane in the sky. The commentary announces “1945 and the end of the war”, then shows an extract from Newcastle ACA documentary footage of the Victory Parade, Newcastle upon Tyne, 8 June 1946. The commentary states that soon after the war, club activities resumed.

Michael Gough stands outside Newcastle Civic Centre entrance. He explains that somewhere under the foundations was the site of the Newcastle ACA club house at 18 Lovaine Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, which the club moved to in 1947. Tilt up to shot of River God Tyne sculpture by David Wynne at the entrance of Newcastle Civic Centre.

An extract follows from the post-war colour Newcastle ACA production ‘The House in Docherty Square’ (1948). A woman lures a sailor back to her mother’s boarding house. The commentary states “amateur film stock once again became available, and the club ventured into colour”. The woman and the sailor go into her mother’s house, which was filmed at the cine club’s headquarters at Ship’s Entry.

Next, there is an extract from the award-winning film of 1952, ‘PC Grubb’s Last Case’. PC Grubb is on his beat outside the Harbour Inn during his last two days on the Force.  He waves to a shop owner on the door of R.C. McInnes Stationer Bookseller and walks over. They chat and the shop owner shows him the latest New Detective magazine in the window, its lurid cover featuring a man attacking a woman with a knife. PC Grubb continues on his beat and heads towards a cafe in a stone terrace. A man in a raincoat rushes down the street and catches him up and tells him to come quickly down to the harbour, where there’s a man with a knife. The sensational cover of True Detective flashes into his mind. Hurrying down to the docks (which may be on the River Tyne). Scenes follow inside a police station and a court of law. The crime turns out to be an ingenious scam between two petty crooks.  PC Grubb walks down the street towards a corner store, Jesmond Supply Stores, Leathards Ltd. at the corner of St Georges Terrace and Coniston Avenue, next door to the Boots store. The film extract ends with the intertitle “Case Concluded”.

A Vauxhall car drives up Cloth Market. The commentary states that “The success of PC Grubb was accompanied by a move to bigger and better premises situated in the Cloth Market.” A chauffeur in uniform gets out of the car. Point of view travelling shot as the cameraman gets out of the car and heads down a narrow snicket and arrives at a sign for the ACA at No. 2 Ship’s Entry.

Brief shot of George Cummin at the projection screen, the room filled with mainly men (a couple of women glimpsed in the middle of the audience). The commentary states that the move gave them better facilities than the club had before, with membership at over a hundred. Two men are seated at a small table in front of the screen, one of them George Cummin. One of the men reaches inside his jacket pocket. A close-up of a pocket watch reading 7:30 follows. Brief shot of George Cummin. The commentary mentions the film ‘Sound and Effect’.

An extract from the film ‘Sound and Effect’ follows. A man sets up a microphone beside a piano to begin recording for a local amateur dramatics group’s production. The extract continues to show the man’s failed attempts at recording.

The next extract is documentary footage from the Belmont Jubilee National Scramble event, narrated by George Cummin. The commentary states “About this time a series of films was made for St Andrews Motors (SAM), a Newcastle-based company that sponsored cross-country motorcycle events. Some of these films are cameos in themselves. Motorcycles and motorcycling fashions can change quite dramatically in 20 years.” The commentary continues “The whole series was quite confidently produced and turned out to be a very satisfying venture.”

The next sequence in colour records members of Newcastle ACA starting to modernise the premises in Ship’s Entry. A group of men and women are working at the joinery, re-wiring, and plastering of the club. Shot of the old gated entrance to Ship’s Entry and the ACA headquarters. “Shortly after the opening night however, the ownership of the property changed hands. The rent was increased tenfold. And a few short months later, for purely financial reasons, the curtains closed for the last time at Ship’s Entry” Commentary illustrated by footage of the new interior of the premises kitted out like a small cinema, with curtained screens, wall lights and an auditorium of seats. “We faced yet another search for premises.”

Speeded up footage (accompanied by the Benny Hill show theme music) of a line of Newcastle ACA members carrying suitcases and lighting, led by Michael Gough, walking through the streets of Newcastle to Grey’s Court. Michael Gough looks around, checks his watch. As the man carrying lights emerges from Grey’s Court, the gang head off in a line down the street again. They cross Grey Street, Michael Gough pointing to “Offices to Let” signs above a premises of Baker and Hall. The group peer through the glass shop front of another premises on Grey Street, a poster advertising Walker Hall Ltd., 34 Highfriars, Eldon Square Shopping Centre. The crew turn and Gough points to the Royal Turks. They troop off again: this time the men vanish into an underground gents’ lavatory, two women members waiting beside the entrance on street level, Pizzeria Capanella in the background.

The group now head across a modern 1960s upper level walkway from Ryder & Yates’ MEA House on Ellison Place to a non-descript 1960s building housing the YMCA. The members troop into the YMCA. Outside the YMCA Michael Gough waits, checks his watch and looks up at the façade. He then puts a bunch of papers into his briefcase, shrugs and walks inside too.

Men and women (mostly men) have congregated inside the YMCA and there’s the buzz of conversation. Michael Gough walks up to a man at the front of the room, opens his notebook and hands a piece of paper to the man, information on the ACA’s social, which is the following week. The man greets the audience. He is standing next to a small portable screen. He announces the items for discussion at the meeting, first up the competition.

In the audience, Michael Gough turns around and addresses the camera, stating that the cine club now hires a room in the YMCA, the meetings held on Tuesday evenings.

Portrait shot of Michael Gough ranting at the camera in the style of a John Cleese Monty Python character. He fluffs his line. The camera pulls back to reveal the microphone and film crew. Someone cries “Cut”. Two women and two men are in the crew. He addresses the camera again and explains that filming can be ambitious today. He talks about “The Company Way” a new drama by Roy Alexander, being shot with full sound and the newest gauge, Super 8mm. Shot of the camera equipment, a Canon camera, a far cry from the equipment of yesteryear.

A montage of early Newcastle ACA extracts follows featuring the Highland Games, ice skating on a frozen pond, probably Paddy Freeman’s Pond, a busy street market in Newcastle with many flower and plant stalls (possibly Bigg Market).

Credit: Written and narrated by Michael Gough

The film cuts to more footage of a street market, Dixon’s café in the background, probably Bigg Market.

Credit: Historical Material supplied by…

George Cummin (President)

Keith Venn (Chairman)

Dave Watson

Jack Wrightson

James Cameron Jnr.

& Leslie Greaves (who also wrote the Titles)

Extract of late 1920s or early 30s documentary footage of a street market with old barrows on wheels, Costello’s in the background.

Credit: The Disc … “Happy Days Are Here Again” Supplied by Frank Wappat (BBC Radio Newcastle)

Late 1920s or early 1930s footage of two men dealing with a cart of coal. Shot of children digging in snow on a Newcastle street in winter, a horse and cart parked nearby, a motor delivery van in the background, traffic on the road.

Credit: Location Sound … Tom Ross, Marjorie Collender Transfer by “Cine Sync”

Late 1920s or early 30s footage of a man driving a horse and cart and a car passing on a Newcastle street in front of a small shop, Hendersons.

Credit: Produced & Directed by Doug Collender

Early 1960s footage of traffic including a Corporation double decker bus advertising “Evening World” and pedestrians on Barras Bridge passing The Church of St Thomas the Martyr.

The final extract c.1940s is of men shovelling away snow on a winter street in Newcastle. A portly man and a thin man chat on a snowy Newcastle street, a man tipping out snow from his cart behind them.

Title: ACA Newcastle & District 1927 – 1977 50 Years of Endeavour