Film ID:
NEFA 10681



Visitor Tabs


Edition of the Tyne Tees television documentary (travelogue) series About Britain, broadcast on 25 February 1976, which first travels with the River Tyne Police, part of Northumbria Police, from Newcastle to the North Sea. Along the Tyne, the film records encounters with various workers such as the Port of Tyne harbour master, the Tyne Queen ferry crew travelling between Wallsend and Hebburn, a fisherman at the North Shields fish market, and a tug boat pilot leading the Joseph R. Smallwood tanker downriver. Workers comment on their working roles in voice-over.

Credit: Tyne Tees TV logo

Title: About Britain

Title: Waterfront

A Tyne River Police crew, including a female police cadet, board their boat and set off on their river beat, past staithes and under the Swing Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne. In voice-over, the sergeant explains what the job entails and the bye-laws they are enforcing.

The launch sails past ships moored outside Spillers Mill. The M934 private motor boat sails past. On board the Tyne River Police boat, the sergeant explains that they cover 19 miles of the Tyne (38 miles of waterfront) on patrol. In voice-over, the police sergeant explains that the crew is usually made up of one sergeant and two police constables. The launch passes a buoy. He says that there are a great many foreign seamen on the Tyne and, in many cases, the river police are their first contact, and must act as ambassadors for Britain. The police board a foreign ship, shake hands with the captain (?) who is dressed in civilian clothes. The sergeant makes him aware of the danger of thefts from their ship in the port.

Next, men are operating the Titan II floating crane at a Swan Hunters shipyard, built by the Russians in 1922 and brought to Tyneside in 1925. The crane then floats down the Tyne pulled towed by a tugboat. In voice-over, one of the shipyard workers talks about his job and Titan II.

The Port of Tyne harbour master reports on the schedule of expected ships from the control room. General exterior view of the Port of Tyne building. He hops on board a small launch, which sets off past the shipyards and quaysides on the Tyne. In voice-over, he explains his duties. He notes a ship without registration with colleagues. Close-up of the ship's name on the bow, Kithnos of Panama. They sail past the ship.

The next sequence records the work of ship repairers working on the Oregis, built by William Gray & Co. Ltd., West Hartlepool. They weld, cut iron, chisel off rust and other duties, which a worker from the yard describes in more detail. He says that you need a sense of humour in the job. Workers walk by carrying ship parts. More shots follow of repair work in progress.

The launch of the Tyne Harbour Control Unit sails by. More calls are exchanged with the Port of Tyne control room The launch passes the large mud flats of the Jarrow Slake area. The voice-over talks about reclamatIon work of the mud flats by the port authority. He surveys the area with binoculars.

The Tyne Queen ferry comes in to moor at Hebburn and passengers get off, many of them Swan Hunters shipyard workers. In voice-over, the captain talks about his work sailing the ferry and about the weather. General view of the Hebburn shipyard. The ferry crew set off back up the Tyne towards Wallsend amidst a riverscape of shipyards and cranes. The ferry passes the Tyne Pride. A couple of women passengers are seated inside the ferry. Portrait shot of crew member securing the ferry with rope at a ferry stop. General view of workers heading into a shipyard to work.

General view of sunset on the Tyne, from the Pilot Watch House at Lowe Top, South Shields, down to the riverfront and the mouth of the river where the lights of the Tynemouth North Pier lighthouse and South Shields lighthouse blink in the fading light.

Sunrise, and fish crates are unloaded from a boat at North Shields Fish Quay, the boxes marked ‘Associated Fisheries’. Inside the market, hundreds of 40 kilo crates of fish cover the floor and the fish auction is in progress. In voice-over, a fisherman, or auctioneer, talks about the sale and where the fish end up. Crates of sold fish are loaded onto lorries.

Standing in the hold of the Scottish Maid, some fishermen are shovelling masses of sprats into a mechanical chute loader filling large tubs on the North Shields Fish Quay. Travelling shot of the North Shields staithe.

Back with the Tyne River Police boat as it sails past large ships docked along the Tyne. A view downriver from the boat follows.

Tugboats guide the Joseph R. Smallwood tanker, built by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd, Hebburn, out of dock. In voice-over, the tugboat pilot of the Northsider talks about his work and how VHF radio contact has had an effect. The Northsider continues towing the Joseph R. Smallwood  downriver.

A general view of the North Shields quayside follows. The Fish Quay is being sluiced down. A lone fishing boat sets sail from the quayside.

Back on the Tynesider tugboat, the Joseph R. Smallwood slowly makes its way to the mouth of the Tyne, guided by the pilot. The ship heads off between the piers and out into the North Sea. The Tynesider tugboat sets off back up the Tyne.

Credits (over impressions of the Tyne):

Research Michael McHugh

Camera Fred Thomas FRPS

Sound Ray Hole

Film Editor Mike Pounder

Executive Producer Leslie Barrett

Director Jeremy Lack

Credit: Tyne Tees TV logo

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