Film ID: NEFA 8269 Video of NEFA 8269 The Billingham Scene THE BILLINGHAM SCENE 1955 Visitor TabsDescription Billingham Film Unit feature on the villages and countryside surrounding the ICI Billingham factory in Teesdale and North Yorkshire. Locations around the ICA works include Billingham, Norton, Stockton, Yarm, Croft-on-Tees, Teesdale, Stockton on Tees. Plays on the history and landscape of area. Title: The Billingham Scene Title: Only a few miles from industrial Tees-side lies some of the most beautiful country in Britain. Trees rustle in the wind by the side of the Billingham Village Green. A red phone box can be seen in the background. A woman walks along the pavement in the centre of the old village. The film shows the smoky Billingham factory industrial landscape, “lying almost at the foot of the lovely Cleveland Hills”. At Norton, two women pass by the pond on the village green and a group of children in red outfits play on the grass. Women sit with their children under sunshades, prams parked nearby. Two women, one pushing a buggy, “stroll across the fields and meadows”, down a winding country road. General views of fields and countryside. There are overhead views of Stockton town centre from the High Street and of the crowded Wednesday and Saturday market. The film visits Yarm High Street, where goods lorries pass by and women push their prams across the road through clouds of wind-swept dust. A close-up of Yarm Town Hall and the war memorial is followed by a close-up of the 1771 flood’s high water mark. The film visits Magnet Ales’ George and Dragon pub to focus on the plaque in the wall commemorating the Stockton and Darlington Railways Promoters’ first meeting in 1820. At St Peter’s parish church in Croft-on-Tees, the film explains the village’s connection with Lewis Caroll. Barnard Castle, “gateway to the wild grandeur of upper Teesdale”, is pictured, the River Tees flowing under its ancient bridge. “Mighty waters” foam and rush past Low Force and High Force waterfall There is a close-up of Cauldron Snout, by Cow Green Reservoir. Long grass bends under the force of the wind as the film surveys “the vast panorama of Teesdale”. End title: The End Context The vast industrial ICI Billingham site nestles in a Tees river valley of elemental beauty. Stockton, Yarm, Norton and Croft are praised as near-by towns and villages of considerable history, convenience and charm – ideal locations as homes for ICI workers. A romanticised pre-urban Teesside is evoked in this 1950s ICI public relations exercise, accompanied by a series of descriptive voiceovers, which end in poetic style: “The voice of industry is a million miles away …” The ICI Billingham Film Unit made a number of films in the pictorial tradition that emphasise the pastoral beauty of the neighbouring Teesdale and Cleveland landscape – a remarkable contrast to the sprawling industrial chemical complex, first founded by Alfred Mond in 1929.