Film ID:
NEFA 13869



Visitor Tabs


An amateur film produced by Tom Johnson of the Billingham & District Cine Club that documents the events surrounding the Billingham Week Festival in 1964 with folk dance, music, parades and sports. This film comes with music and a commentary.

The film opens showing Billingham's new town centre precinct under construction. A boy on a bicycle rides past and looks at the camera. In the background the road is cordoned off so that construction work can proceed safely. The camera pans left to show the construction of a new spiral walkway which leads to an upper level of the shopping precinct. In this part of the film the steel frame shows it is in the early stages of construction. The camera pans right showing some of the local shops such as 'Alan Elliott, F.W. Woolworth, and Freeman, Hardy & Willis. Piles of grey bricks can be seen in the foreground. An alternative camera angle brings a different view of the spiral ramp walkway. Piles of grey brick are seen again and a cement mixer is seen in  the foreground. The camera pans left. The film then cuts to a bricklayer building a square column, in the background a corner of the Billingham Arms. The camera pans right showing another parade of shops including 'Sparks Bakery'.

The film cuts to a travelling shot taken from a car as it motors West along The Causeway in Billingham. A low angle shot follows as the car passes the Brunswick Bowling Alley in the new town centre. The shops at ground level here still seem to be under construction. The car approaches Roseberry Flats on the left of the picture, again on The Causeway.

The film then cuts to a shot of the bowling alley from the opposite side of the Causeway at a bus stop area just outside John Whitehead Park.

The film cuts to the upper walkway level of the Billingham Shopping precinct. A man walks towards the camera. The new spiral walkway, under construction, is seen as the camera pans right. The parade of shops at ground level can be clearly seen. Other public works at ground level can also be seen under construction. The film cuts to more shots of the construction work taking place in the precinct. The camera pans right to show the extent of the building work. In the background a sign directs customers to the entrance of the Brunswick Bowling Alley.

Panning further right shows the construction of new retail units as part of the precinct. The film cuts to a rear view of the construction of the spiral walkway. The next shot shows some foundation work being carried out showing steel reinforcement rods in neat rows within excavated trenches. The camera pans from right to left showing the extent of the works. The film then cuts to a deep excavation with similar reinforcements. Pipes lie along the top edge of the excavation. In the background a view of the rear of Roseberry Flats on the Causeway. The film cuts to another part of the Billingham precinct development showing a Tarmac crane hoisting materials for the building of a new development currently surrounded by scaffolding. The camera pans right to left, showing a Tarmac tower crane in the middle of the building work.

Title: Christmas Lights 1963

This sequence begins with a shot of decorative lights strung between columns of street lights. The camera pans left showing a string of lights above Timpsons shoe shop. A shot follows of two neon signs advertising the 'Wheatsheaf Supermarket'. A string of coloured lights hangs above them. A shot of isolated coloured lights follows the film is too dark at this point to describe location. The next shot shows lights adorning a Christmas tree, possibly in the new town centre. A close up shot shows a star shaped light at the top of the tree. The camera pans left to right showing another string of coloured lights. A mechanical windmill adorned with coloured lights comes into view. Next a series of flashing coloured lights in the shape of concentric arcs that depict a peacock. The lights flash on and off in sequence. Another set of coloured lights flash on and off, the shape representing a jack-in-the-box. The camera pans right to left showing a string of coloured lights, with the peacock and windmill lights appearing once again. The film cuts to the window display of a television and electrical goods shop. A man looks in at the items for sale. The display has the seasonal additions of a small Christmas tree and coloured lights.

The films cuts to a shot of a man in traditional folk costume playing a concertina. A man in in a similar outfit and smoking a pipe stands next to him. In the background the crowd looks on. Two men and two women also in traditional folk costume dance to the music being played, other couples join in. Shop signs in the background include 'Dewhurst' (butchers) and 'Boots the Chemist'. As the dance entertainment continues Morris dancers stand in two rows and clash sticks in time to the music. Shots follow of the dancers feet and also their hats which are placed in the centre of the square where they dance. The camera zooms in on the hats. Dancers flourishing handkerchiefs dance around the hats. The crowd in the background look on. The six dancers now wearing their hats carry on with the handkerchief dance, 'Halfords' bicycle and car store in the background. The film cuts to one of the women dancers seen earlier speaking to the audience through a microphone. the other dancers mill around in the background. The men and women return for another dance. A close up follows of the concertina player. The film cuts to the concertina player shot from behind. A dancer next to him holds the sheet music for the musician to follow. On the concertina players embroidered jacket are the words 'Derwent Valley' (possibly Derbyshire not County Durham)

The camera zooms in on the jacket, then cuts to a shot looking over the concertina players shoulder and follows the dancing. The camera pulls back and pans left showing the square where the dancers are, and a parade of shops in the background.

The film cuts to a Salvation Army or Police Band parade with police officers on horseback walking past the Billingham Community Centre on the Causeway in Billingham. Police officers march behind the band . Behind the the officers a smartly dressed (not in uniform) group of women march (possibly British Legion). Behind this group march members of the boys brigade(?) and girls brigade(?), followed by girl guides and cub scouts.

From the community centre a number of local dignitaries walk out onto the road to join the parade (?). The mayor heads the entourage followed by others including an official carrying a mace. The film cuts to the same dignitaries (?) arriving at the church of St Aidan in Tintern Avenue in Billingham. The film cuts back to the Causeway just outside the community centre where a policeman on a white horse salutes the assembled dignitaries. The camera pulls back a little as another officer on a white horse comes into the frame. The next shot shows a Salvation Army or police band with policemen marching behind along the Causeway. Small groups of children walk alongside the parade. A closer shot the policemen marching. The policemen are followed by women of the British legion, as denoted by their standard which is carried at the head of their parade. This is followed by marching members of the Red Cross (?).

The film cuts to a shot directly in front of a juvenile jazz band, their banner reads 'The New Seaham Pierrots'  The leader marches towards the camera followed by the band. The camera then cuts to another juvenile jazz band from Seaham, the 'Seaham Starlights' . The band in green uniforms walk towards the camera.

The film cuts to a police dog handling display. The dog jumps over obstacles at the command of the handler. Crowds look on from the perimeter of the display area. The action takes place on open land behind the Billingham Community Centre and the rear of Stockton & Billingham Technical College. The police dog display continues with a demonstration of a policeman catching a 'criminal' . The criminal being another police officer, with a protective sleeve for his arm, which the dog grabs with its teeth.

Title: Billingham Queen 1964

Title: Miss Nancy Cann

 A group of five young women in evening dress, pose for the camera. Behind them is the back drop of a dark curtain. The camera pans left to right, framing the face of each woman. Each member of the group walks towards the camera for an individual shot. They exit left from the frame. The next shot shows a picture of a small dance band. It shows a drummer a bass player and two other musicians playing small percussion instruments. The five young women dance the 'Twist' to the music with some others. Close ups follow of the girls faces followed by a shot of the feet of one of the girls as she dances. The location of the dance is in the theatre of the technical college. A wider shot follows of the group dancing. The dancing now over, one of the group of five women seen earlier, walks across the theatre floor and onto the stage. All the girls follow the same sequence with the audience applauding each time, until they are all on stage. The last girl on the stage is presented with a sash, proclaiming her 'Billingham Ballroom Queen' given to her by the mayor. The other four girls are given prizes by the mayoress(?) The mayor speaks into a microphone on stage. The new Ballroom Queen walks towards the camera and the camera pans right as it follows her. She walks off to join friends in the audience who embrace her.

Title: Billingham Week 1964

The sequence opoens on a red Royal Mail Morris van making its way slowly along a flooded road. The next shot shows flood water with an unidentified piece of debris submerged in the middle distance. A group of people walk past shops in Billingham's new town centre. In the foreground another group stand waiting, sheltering from the rain under umbrellas waiting for the first groups arrival. As the first group continue to approach we see the Lord Mayor and Nancy Cann, the winner of the Billngham Ballroom Queen, walk past 'Hinton's' supermarket, Greenwood's gents outfitter's, Collingwood's the jewellers, Timpson's shoe shop and Halford's cycle store. A close up follows showing Nancy Cann standing behind a microphone. A close up shot shows children seated on steps wrapped up against the rain. The mayor makes a speech from a small stage into the microphone. A long shot shows people watching the proceedings from the upper walkway of the precinct. The mayor puts the ballroom queen sash on Nancy Cann, and the surrounding crowd applaud. Nancy Cann makes a speech from a small card which has been given to her. The fil cuts to a shot of another cameraman shooting the event from the roof of one of the single storey precinct buildings. Nancy Cann kisses a small child who has just given her a small bouquet. The crowd applaud. Another man just offstage speaks to Nancy Cann and points to some boxes on a table nearby. She opens one of the boxes and takes out a small table lamp.

The film cuts to men and women in traditional folk costume dancing in one of the sunken square areas in the town centre. Another group of all male dancers do a traditional sword dance, while a curious 'old couple' walk around them. The dancers make a star out of the interlocking blades of their 'swords' and hold it aloft for the appreciative audience. Next can be seen Britannia Coco-nut dancers with blackened faces holding bent arches of paper flowers. They dance wearing clogs. The crowd look on despite the poor weather. Other dancers watch the group from the sidelines.

The film cuts to an outside performance of the Ian Campbell folk group, who try to sing and play as best they can in sheltered but cramped conditions. This is followed by an overhead shot of Ian Campbell holding a microphone encouraging a group of local youngsters to sing. The film cuts back to the Britannia Coco-nut dancers seen earlier and then to another set of sword dancers who dance to a violin accompaniment. The locked swords performed as part of the dance are once agin held aloft fro the audience.

The film moves from the town centre to a more rural setting. The film shows a horse and rider negotiate a five bar gate. This sequence appears to be taking place at the John Whitehead Park on the Causeway, opposite the Billingham Arms and the Brunswick Bowling Alley. Crowds watch as horses and riders are put through their paces. The next shot shows the rider of a grey horse riding towards the camera, to take a jump to the right of the frame. Horse and rider clear the jump and they join another group of riders waiting opposite the jump. Another rider on a white horse clears the same jump. The film cuts to a group of four children enjoying a ride on the park's 'hobby' horse. Another group of children climb to the top of a slide, then slide down to the bottom.

The film cuts to a conductor of a brass band, the camera shows different instrumentalists playing. The film then cuts to Nancy Cann the Ballroom Queen walking hand in hand with a young man at a fairground. The next shot shows children enjoying a ride in traditionally painted swing boats. Next we see a small roundabout, which has model road vehicles for the rides. Shots follow of fairground lights on the rides speeding past the camera. There follows a close up shot of people enjoying a ride on a 'waltzer', followed by those on a ride called a 'Looper'.

The film cuts next to children on a chair-o-plane ride. Some very rapid jump cuts show some of the name boards of the various rides around the fairground. An 'on board' view of a chair-o-plane ride follows next. The next shot is of slot machines, and a small boy buys candy floss from one of the many food and sweet stalls at the fair.

The film cuts to a rock and roll group, Billingham band the Johnny Taylor Five, playing and singing outside while a group of girls dance in front of them.

Then another cut to a shot of a label that will be used to enter a balloon race. Whoever finds the label after the balloons have been released wins a prize.  A close up follows of some brightly coloured balloons that are held by a man in Billingham town centre who releases them complete with labels and they rapidly rise up into the sky. An upward shot tries to follow the balloons as they rise higher and higher into a dull sky. The next shot, back in the town centre shows one of the balloons being filled with gas. A young boy looks on; a young girl looks intrigued. Another shot shows the balloons going even higher.

The film cuts to the athletics track on Central Avenue Billingham. The shot is taken looking along the grandstand and in the background one can see the headquarters of ICI Agricultural division (now demolished). Walking towards the camera is the mayor and mayoress with Nancy Cann. The film cuts to two athletes warming up on the central field in the middle of the running track. Another shot from the grandstand follows with more shots of the track and field as athletes and officials prepare for the days events. Crowds gather on the perimeter fence as male athletes get ready for a sprint race. The starters gun goes off and the runners are off. The camera pans left to right as it follows the runners down the track. The camera cuts back to views on the grandstand. Nancy Cann helps to organise items on the grandstand. The next race, a group of female runners start their hundred yard sprint. The film cuts to another film cameraman filming from a rostrum at one end of the grandstand. Another shot looking back into the grandstand shows spectators watching the events. Again on the grandstand the mayor gives prizes out to winning athletes. The film cuts to an athlete attempting a hammer throw. Another athlete competes in the same event, the camera tracks the 'hammer' as it flies through the air. A femal athlete or official walks from the grandstand to central field area, A shot then follows of some prizes in the form of Vaux Gold Tankards. The film shows a group of male athletes being filmed by another cameraman. The same three athletes receive their tankard awards and prizes handed out by Douglas Nicholson (?), chairman of Vaux breweries. The athletes pause on the grandstand for filming or photographs.

Title: The End