Film ID:
NEFA 21518



Visitor Tabs


An amateur film made by Michael Gough of events and activities taking place in and around the city of Durham as part of the 800th anniversary of the granting of a charter to the city by Bishop Hugh de Puiset in 1079. The film includes a history of the city, a parade of marching bands and people in historic costumes, an event at Durham Racecourse, a hog roast, English Civil War re-enactment, a Mystery Play and a medieval market. On Palace Green Durham University’s graduation ceremony takes place. The final scenes are of Durham Miners Gala featuring Prime Minister James Callaghan.

Title: Movie Maker Ten Best. Four Star Rating

Title: 800 Years a City

Credit: A film by Michael Gough

The film opens as a diesel train pulls into Durham Railway Station, Durham Cathedral can be seen in the distance. A shot through a bush shows cars travelling along a busy road past a road sign reading ‘Durham’. Again the cathedral can be seen in the near distance. The film cuts to a phantom car ride into the city with both Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle in the near distance.

The film cuts to a stained glass window depicting St Cuthbert. General views follow of Lindisfarne Priory and the statue of St Aidan on Holy Island. A group of walkers pass, one of them carrying a silver and wood crucifix on his shoulders.

Next, various views of Durham Cathedral along the River Wear.

On the roof of Durham Cathedral are a number of workmen in bright yellow hardhats. One man comes down a ladder. The film cuts to a stonemason working on a block of stone.

On the roof of Durham Cathedral, a boys’ choir begin to sing, at the front a man conducts them.

The film cuts to show two photographs of the interior of Durham Cathedral. The film cuts to a man in shorts as he walks through the cathedral cloisters.

Outside a number of uniformed school children walk past. Two people look up at a tourist map of the city. General views show tourists and locals walking through the streets around Durham Market Place.

A religious procession in full vestments makes it ways through the cloisters of Durham Cathedral, at the rear is the Bishop of Durham carrying his staff. The film cuts to a stained glass window of Bishop Hugh de Puiset.

The film cuts to a view underneath Elvet Bridge where a number of rowing boats and rowers can be seen. General views around the river show rowers getting in and out of their boats and people walking about. On the water a race is underway with spectators looking down from the bridges above as the competitors race past at speed.

General views follow of various streets around Durham Market Place.

The film cuts to show views of the charter of Bishop Hugh de Puiset with a wax seal.

Scouts, followed by Girl Guides and then the Mayor of Durham come out of Durham Town Hall onto Market Place and make their way towards Durham Cathedral. General views of the procession making their way along Saddler Street, up Owengate and across Palace Green into the cathedral. Along the way people watch and take photographs as they pass.

The film cuts to a bagpipe marching band proceeding along a road towards Durham Cathedral. Behind them come a number of men and women dressed in various historic costumes. A horse and carriage pass by followed by an open top carriage carrying the Mayor and the Lady Mayoress who wave at the crowd lining the route. A military marching band follows and behind them a procession of men dressed in 18th century army uniforms.

The film cuts to Durham Racecourse where a man turns the wheel of a mini carousel. Children spin past, many smiling but one little girl is crying. General views follow of children on a number of small swing-boats.

A large sign reads ‘Northern Gas. Ox Roasting’. The film cuts to two men standing beside a large ox cooking on a spit. The Mayor and the Lady Mayoress eat a burger watched by a small crowd. There are views of people eating ice cream.

General views of crowds gathering round a coconut shy. A boy throws weighted bags at a stack of tin cans.

On the exhibition ground a large crowd watch an English Civil War re-enactment. The air is thick with smoke from cannons and guns fire. Men in historic army uniforms march towards each other and some fall as if dead.

The film cuts to show the front cover of a booklet which reads ‘Durham 800th Anniversary. Three Mystery Plays’. On the back of an old Vaux delivery wagon a group of actors perform the story of Noah. From the balcony of a modern building a man in white looks down on the audience. General views of the audience watching are intercut with those of the performance. A number of musicians play wooden instruments.

Crowds walk around numerous covered stalls that have been erected around Durham Market Place. A group of musical minstrels performs for a small crowds sitting around the base of the 3rd Marquees of Londonderry statue. Someone works a potter’s wheel and is seen moulding a piece of clay into a bowl. A number of people walk around the market in medieval costumes. A multi-coloured puppet dragon chases a small girl.

The film cuts to show children sitting around watching a Punch and Judy Show. A sign reads ‘Soak the Serf. 3 Groats or 5p’. Two children try to hit a target over a woman sitting on a stool. The second child succeeds and a bucket of water drops onto her head.

A large crowd stand and watch as a group of folk dancers performs in Market Place. There are views of both the dancers in traditional costumes and the musicians.

On Palace Green there are views of various Durham University graduates in gowns and mortarboards. They stand with family and friends chatting. People take photographs of the events and the film shows a variety of different cameras being used.

As part of the Durham Miner’s Gala a procession of feet march along a road. A woman in a white miner’s helmet and white t-shirt walks past watched by a large crowd. The film cuts to show a large procession of people walking along a road, a miners’ banner can be seen fluttering in the wind a little way back. General views follow of the procession making their way along the route.

On New Elvet as part of the procession the camera passes The County Hotel. On the balcony above is Prime Minister James Callaghan. There are views of him waving down on the crowds. Marching bands, banners and crowds make their way past proudly. Three young boys sit on the shoulders of their fathers. The Murton Lodge banner passes by. A group of women dance around in a circle, making their way along New Elvet.

The film cuts to show views of various firework exploding in the sky. One of the fireworks is in the shape of the Durham heraldry shield. Around the edge is written ‘City of Durham’.

Title: The End.

End Credit: With grateful thanks to Jean Middlemass and the 800 committee

End Credit: With grateful thanks to The Council of the City of Durham, Durham Cathedral, The National Union of Mineworkers, The Roundhead Association, Turners Photography of Newcastle

End Credit: A Studio 103 Production