Film ID:
NEFA 11675

ABOUT BRITAIN: ONE MAN AND HIS CITY

1974

Visitor Tabs

Description

This Tyne Tees Television documentary appeared in the ITV About Britian series and was transmitted 2nd April 1974. The programme follows Dr Henry Miller, Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University, as he shows us around Newcastle upon Tyne discussing many aspects of the city, from old and new architecture and industry to the Grainger Market and football. Scott Dobson makes an appearance to discuss the 'Geordie character'.

Title: TTTV logo Tyne Tees Colour

The film opens with a travelling shot from a train approaching Newcastle’s central station. On its way a familiar landmark appears: the Tyne Bridge and its approach road heading north.

In one of the carriages the Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University, Dr Henry Miller, zips up a travel bag as he prepares to leave the train. He walks along a corridor, and approaches the carriage door as the train enters the station. From his vantage point, Dr. Miller can see the arch of the Tyne Bridge, the nearby High Level Bridge and Swing Bridge.

Title: About Britain

Title: One Man and His City

The train pulls into the curved platform of Newcastle’s Central Station. Dr Miller opens his carriage door and gets off the train.

Still of an old print c.1865, at the time the station was built. Another print shows the spectacular curved vaulted roof. Dr Miller walks across the station concourse. An exterior view shows the station facade.

Dr Miller’s car drives off from the station. Travelling shot of the upper storeys of the many 19th century buildings on the journey through the city centre, followed by the detached houses and villas in the suburb of Jesmond where Dr Miller lives.The car stops outside Miller's official residence.

At home, Dr Miller speaks to camera about his life in Newcastle.General views follow of St Nicholas Cathedral, the new Civic Centre and the University campus across Barras Bridge. Miller walks through the arch of the Armstrong building at the university. A high angle view shows him continuing along a pathway through the campus. He stops to talk to some students or lecturers on his way. In voice over he speaks about life at the university. A group of students leave room G15 after a lecture. Students outside are pictured through a distorting mirror.

The film cuts back to a view from a first floor mezzanine looking down on an ornate floor as Dr Miller makes his way across the floor. He passes models of ships in display cabinets belonging to the department of naval architecture at the university. He stops to talk to one the lecturers about an ocean engineering project. The lecturer points to a nearby display of a model of a Russian ice breaker vessel, which was built on the Tyne 70 years ago, and, according to the lecturer, is still in service near Leningrad.

A lecturer shows students a working propeller behind safety glass and contained within a special chamber. It is undergoing a demonstration test at speed. The film cuts to a ship's propeller on a vessel on the Tyne.

A guide at a shipyard talks to a group of students about the techniques involved in building a ship. Various views show men working on the structure of a ship’s hull. General views show ships at their moorings and cranes working on the quayside. Dr Miller’s commentary outlines the heritage of shipbuilding on the Tyne.

The ‘Tyne Queen’ ferry is making its way along the river, and a ship is still under construction, the Alnwick Castle. More general views show ships and cranes, followed by a travelling view going under the High Level Bridge and the Tyne Bridge. Looking back from the direction of travel, an iconic view of Newcastle, showing the Tyne Bridge, the High level Bridge and the Swing Bridge.

Back home, Dr Miller sits down to listen to a record of classical music. In his commentary he talks of the cultural life of Newcastle. Seated in one of the boxes in the auditorium of the Theatre Royal, he speaks about its history. Interior shots record structures and rich decoration in the theatre.

Dr Miller makes his way out of the theatre and out onto Grey Street, with a view of the statue of Earl Grey at the top of his monument. On Grey Street Dr Miller talks  about the monument. Another view follows taken from a roof top showing Grey Street and the monument, to the right the grandeur of the Theatre Royal facade.

Overhead view as Dr Miller continues his walk. He stops by a shop doorway at the junction of Grey Street and Mosley Street and speaks to camera over the noise of traffic. He contemplates how the area around him may have looked in 1830. A still of an old print of Grey Street follows.

Title: End of Part One

Title: Part Two

Still of the grand opening dinner at the Grainger Market in 1835. A woman buys flowers at a shop in Grainger market. General views show a very busy market with shoppers stopping off at different stalls to buy items. Dr Miller stops off at one of the butcher's stalls in the market. Another stall is selling game birds and eggs. A butcher hangs the carcass of a deer on a hook. Inside a second hand bookshop, Dr Miller browses shelves packed with books and picks one out. He then talks to camera about the shortage of bookshops. This bookshop is an old established Newcastle business known as Robinson’s bookshop, which he acknowledges as a most valuable resource for students including himself, when studying for higher qualifications. The camera quickly pans across the myriad of books on the shelves. Another customer looks at a book as in voiceover Dr Miller talks about a strong culture of writing in the city, especially about local history.

A Tyne ferry travels on the river. On the Quayside Miller meets with Scott Dobson, local artist, writer and raconteur, and talks about the definition of being a Geordie and about the industry of the area, how busy the river used to be, and the fanaticism of its football fans. Spillers Mill lies on the opposite bank of the Tyne. General views follow of the area near St James’ Park. The next section shows a Newcastle United Saturday afternoon match in progress, with views of a large crowd in attendance, men and women in the stands. The match continues, the opposition scores a goal.

General view of St Nicholas Cathedral bell tower. A stallholder is doing his best to sell his wares at the Sunday quayside market, busy with people browsing the stalls including caged animals. The camera pulls back to the steps leading down from All Saints church to King Street which leads down to the quayside. The film cuts back to the stallholder, then to general views of shoppers on the quayside. Miller reminisces about his visits to the market. Some visiting sailors to the city are seen looking around the stalls. Dr Miller and his wife browse around some of the stalls and buy some flowers. An Asian stallholder tries out comic banter with a couple to sell his blankets and entertain the crowd, asking whether the woman wants a black slave. Dr Miller and his wife walk in conversation through the market.

General views show a boat in light mist on the river, which is followed by a low angle view looking up to the High Level Bridge. The Swing Bridge is in motion, and a ship sails through. At the same time a goods train of coal (?) slowly makes its way across the High Level Bridge. The Swing Bridge starts to close after the ship has passed through.

Through the mist general views follow of the old keep, with St Nicholas’ Cathedral in the background along with part of the Moot Hall. Still of an old print. The print shows the Guildhall on the quayside. Footage of the view follows. In voiceover Dr Miller continues his commentary about Newcastle and its architecture.

General views show the Tyne Bridge highlighted in evening sunshine, and the grand façade of a 19th century office building, and the much older Betty Surtees house at Sandhill, the cobbled road surface of the Side, St Nicholas’ Cathedral and some close ups of weather vanes. The film cuts to the green weathered copper features on the Emerson Chambers building on Blackett Street.

Views of rooftops and the Tyne Bridge follow and the steep terraced streets of the Scotswood area. Old terraced houses are being demolished in Newcastle’s east end. Scrap wood and other materials are burning on a large bonfire. A mechanical shovel, scoops up spoil from an exposed interior of a demolished house. Dr Miller outlines the fate of some of the houses in this part of Newcastle. He walks across some of the recently cleared land. In the background the skeleton of what will become the Byker Wall development is under construction.

A close roadside view of heavy traffic illustrates the constant battle the city has with the car and commercial traffic. The film cuts quickly between mechanical shovels, working on developments and traffic moving nearby.

Dr Miller goes on to talk about the town moor. He walks across grassland past some cattle grazing on the moor. He talks of his concern with regard to future development of the city and the security of the town moor. Views follow of modern buildings in the city, including a glimpse of the recently built central library and Bewick Court which spans John Dobson Street.

[Credits over general views of some new developments and the town moor]

End credit: Researcher Alex Murchie

End credit: Sound Ray Hole

End credit: Camera  Fred Thomas

End credit: Editor Bill Oxenham

End credit: Executive Producer Leslie Barrett

End Credit: Andrea Wonfor

End Title: TTTV Colour