Film ID: NEFA 13867 Video of NEFA 13867 Billingham Week 1963 BILLINGHAM WEEK 1963 1963 Visitor TabsDescription Amateur film produced for Billingham Urban District Council by Tom Johnson and the Billingham and District Cine Club. This film documents the events surrounding the Billingham Week exhibition in 1963. Features include: a fancy dress competition, dancing, a Red Cross march, show jumping, and finally a fruit and vegetable show and trade exhibitions. Title: Billingham Week Title: Photography by Billingham and District Cine Club Title: The Council extend their thanks to the many people who by their kind cooperation helped to make this film possible. The Mayor makes an announcement from a microphone on a stage. Next to him is a Billingham beauty queen wearing a sash. In the background, the concrete façade of Martin’s Bank can be seen. The beauty queen poses for cameras in front of a freshly polished car. A man hoists her onto the bonnet. A small crowd has gathered around. The woman now poses cross-legged on the bonnet of the car. A bowls match is underway. Close-up shots of the bowls lying in proximity to the white jack. Behind, “Brunswick Bowls” is advertised on the side of a large modernist brick building (possibly The Forum). Flats and houses look out over the bowling green. Some older folk sit on wooden benches surrounding the green. Two women embrace and pose for the camera on the bowling green. The Billingham beauty queen is driven to a pavilion where she presents trophies in an awards ceremony. A brass band plays on a temporary stage. Children hug the staircase leading up to the stage, getting as close to the action as possible. Children sit on a lawn watching the music, a red pram parked in the background. A crowd is seated on wooden folding chairs. It’s windy, foliage and coats are ruffled by the wind. Young children play on a slide. Certificates are presented to children. The Billingham beauty queen, no longer wearing her sash, walks out of a pharmacy, and is followed by the camera in a series of shots as she visits various shops. She passes an Upton’s newsagents on Station Road, Billingham. At an evening ceremony, Miss Billingham is on stage with other important guests. Everyone is dressed exceptionally smartly for the occasion. A band plays, and then a dance gets under way. Close-ups of women dancing and of the feet of the dancers. The dance floor now cleared, couples in extravagant dress perform routines in a dance competition. Afterwards, the public take to the dance floor again. On another windy day, announcements are made by various dignitaries, accompanied by Miss Billingham. A young girl presents Miss Billingham with a bouquet of flowers. A small crowd is assembled, and white marquees can be seen in the background. Some boys launch motorised model planes. Children are paraded past the camera in a fancy dress competition: washer women, a Boer War soldier, a Beefeater, a headless queen, a witch, a couple in black-face make-up, a matador, a concessions salesgirl, a cowgirl. Following the procession there are a number of portrait shots of the children: an Austrian maid, a devil, a young girl in a bikini wearing a “Miss Universe 1970” sash, a ghost with a skeleton’s face. A Chinese maid and a scarecrow also pose. The text “1963 RED CROSS 1963” has been grown in a raised semi-circular flower bed. The cast of dignitaries are on stage again for an awards ceremony. Groups of cadets march. They are accompanied by several Red Cross nurses. A standard bearer for the boys group is presented with a British Red Cross flag; on it the text, “Cadet Unit 5217”. The girls’ groups receive several flags, one of which carries the text, “Cadet Unit 3830”. Close-up of a gruesome (stage) wound. The hoarding “Could you stop the bleeding?” appears in the background. Next, a woman with (fake) facial and arm burns crouches in front of the hoarding, “Could you deal with this accident?” Cadets carry out an exercise with a stretcher. Bandages are applied to a (stage) wound. Show jumping shots follow. At a fair or trade exhibition, a couple inspect a green house, with the slogan “NEEB for everything” on its roof. Later in the film the same greenhouse is seen from the opposite side, its hoarding reading, “electricity in your garden”. Two conjoined trucks filled with appliances make up a Northern Gas exhibition. An enormous “ELECTRICITY” sign fronts a tented exhibition labeled, “Get up to Date Go Electric”. Close-ups of flowers are followed by shots in a flower and vegetable show. A man holds up a painting of geese flying over a field. Other paintings are propped up on a table. Wines, cakes, and toys are displayed. A table is filled with trophies. Leaf specimens, perhaps, are laid out on white sheets. A diorama of garden gnomes are displayed in the “do-it-yourself exhibition”. A panel nearby boasts, “all items can be purchased at this show”. A group of men stand behind a table of tinned food. The banner behind them boasts, “Billingham Round Table– lowest prices in town”. There is a stand for outward bound activities with GTC (?) Menhennet’s do-it-yourself exhibition of power tools. A number of women sell jewellery at a British Legion Women’s Section stall. There is also an Oxfam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) stand appealing for donations of clothing and gifts and a stall for the “Physically Handicapped People Clu[b]”. D. Miles of Billingham has a stall with a range of Parker pens prominently displayed. Outside, one of the marquees has been set up for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries Ltd. A bubble car (registration 872 AKV) is parked outside one of the marquees. A little girl wearing a sun hat and a swimming costume has a “Miss Billingham” sash draped over her shoulder. Context A new town centre festival make-over Slick strictly ballroom dance routines and spooky children’s fancy dress lure Billingham folk to a modern town centre in the 1960s. An amateur film revels in the charm and strangeness of the first Billingham Week festival, designed to encourage shoppers into the newly-built town centre precinct. A band plays for a lively night crowd at the Billingham Arms Hotel where fabulous frocks, virtuoso ballroom and 60s Twist dance routines are on show – one of many engagements for the festival queen. The children also get a chance to dress up in their weirdest outfits for a fancy dress competition. The events of Billingham Week were filmed by the Billingham & District Cine Club in 1963 and ‘64. One of Britain’s post-war new towns, the prosperous Billingham Urban District Council developed a new traffic-free shopping centre in the 1950s and early 1960s that boasted a spiral pram ramp, pedestrian tunnels and underfloor heating, officially opened in 1964. To attract shoppers away from their traditional Stockton and Middlesbrough destinations, a festival and weekly Saturday entertainments were held at the precinct – brass bands, fashion shows, folk singers, and street performers – events that would lead to the first Billingham Folklore Festival in 1965.