Film ID:
NEFA 21703



Visitor Tabs


An amateur film made by John H. Hall and Neil Bramwell of the construction of St. Wilfrid’s Parish Church in the Newbiggin Hall estate of Newcastle upon Tyne between 1965 and 1967. The film begins with views of a religious service taking place in a hall, possibly Tenant’s Hall, before the church was built. Construction begins on the church with foundations and building frames being installed. The foundation stone is laid in a service led by the Right Reverend Hugh Ashdown, Bishop of Newcastle on 10th December 1966. More work is carried out on the interior of the church and, with work completed, the film records the dedication service-taking place on the 2nd June 1967 also led by Hugh Ashdown. The final part of the film shows a number of religious services taking place in the new church including a communion, funeral and baptism. Following the main film, additional black and white footage show a service taking place in the church with views of the congregation.

Title: Cheviot Junior School Presents 

Title: It All Began In a Pub…

Title: Filmed By John H. Hall and Neil Bramwell

Title: Sound Track by Michael Black and R Lynn Childs.

The film opens on a photograph of an altar, but not inside a church. A number of chair have been placed in front of it.

[Dark] Standing beside another altar a minister prays. A view of the altar follows on which stand two lit candles and three vases of flowers. A bible lays open at the far end. Beside the altar against the far wall is a small table and chair. A jug, cups and a vase of flowers sits on the table.

In the rain a couple make their way towards a 60’s style brick building. Behind them come two women walking together. Looking out from inside the building, another couple comes inside out of the rain. [Dark] General view of a service taking place.

A large wooden sign erected outside reads ‘Site of St Wilfrid’s Church and St Wilfrid’s House. Help Built your Church. Buy a Brick a Week from your Collector. Costs 2/ to buy and lay’. Another handmade poster in the window of a house advertises a ‘Grand Bazaar at the Tenants Hall’ taking place on Saturday 29th October, opened by Mrs J.H.B. Blackett.

The film cuts to show a model of the new St Wilfrid’s church including church hall and church house set up on a table. The table rotates showing all sides of the site including a large cross to be built beside the church.  

On the building site, a workman sits at the controls of an excavator digging a trench alongside a second man working in the trench itself. A bucket of earth is dropped into a dump truck. Writing along the back of the truck reads ‘Shield. Built-Well Built!’ General views of the excavator dumping more soil into the truck.

Looking down on the building site, a number of men are working in a series of foundation trenches. [Dark] General views of a number of buckets of earth being excavated and dumped into a truck watched by two men standing nearby.

A view along a foundation trench cuts to show a two men loading cement from a lorry into a steel bucket attached to a crane. One of the men holds onto the bucket as it is lowered to the ground and moved into position by three workers. Standing on a lever the concrete pours out of a bucket into a barrel. General views of the man and bucket moving around the building site.

General views follow of the steel foundations of the church and men working on the construction. Men unload bricks from the back of a lorry. One of the rear tyres of the lorry is partly buried in the earth.

A workman makes cement by mixing together gravel, sand and Blue Circle cement. He makes a hole in the centre of the mixture and adds water. He then uses the spade to bring the dry mixture into the water to make cement. The film cuts to show a man laying a brick wall using said cement.

Four rows of clay drainage pipes are laid out in a trench, the film cuts to show a scaffolding tower. A crane is used to put the wooden building and roofing frames into position. Three men manoeuvre one of the struts at the base of the frame into position over the concrete foundation. Above them on the scaffolding, more men hold the frame in a stable position. The two sides of the building trusses are bolted into position.

On a rainy December day, a procession makes its way along Trevelyan Drive towards the new church. Two altar boys, one holding a processional cross, are at its head followed by the Right Reverend Hugh Ashdown, Bishop of Newcastle. Other clergy and dignitaries follow behind as well as group of school children.

At the new church, a service takes place with the Bishop seated under a canopy beside a partially completed brick wall. Bishop Ashdown ceremonially lays a number of bricks into the wall with a silver trowel. He then says a prayer over the bricks watched by the congregation. He makes the sign of the cross. There is a close up of the foundation stone and inscription.

General views show work continuing on the church, now with roof trusses and rafters in place. The film cuts to shows the exterior of the church complete with brick walls. Inside, work continues with plastering still drying on the walls and plastic sheeting blowing in the wind instead of windows.

A view of the roof that is covered with bitumen and a man climbing a ladder onto the scaffolding carrying a sheet of glass. He assists another man as they install a large pane of window glass.

General views show unfinished electrical sockets and wiring inside the church. Outside concrete paving slabs are laid. Inside the church, a man installs flooring tiles beside a large wooden cross. From scaffolding inside the church, two men work on the ceiling.

A large crowd attending the dedication service stands in the doorway of the church as a procession of clergy comes inside. A second procession of clergy come into the church led by a boy holding a processional cross. Amongst them is the Right Reverend Hugh Ashdown, Bishop of Newcastle in ceremonial vestments who walks slowly down the aisle and stands behind the altar along with a number of other clerics. There is a view of the scene on a television monitor.

General views follow of the dedication service taken by the Bishop including views seen on a the small screen. With the service over, the clerics come round the front of the altar, bow and proceed to leave the church. The camera follows a golden processional cross as it exits the church.

A brief view of a camera is followed by the congregation leaving the church as seen on the television screen, People chat amongst themselves as they make their way out of the church.

The film cuts to show a communion service. The minister breaks bread and takes up a cup of wine before offering them to his kneeling congregation in front of the altar.

The film cuts to show the vicar escorting a coffin from a hearse into the church carried by four pallbearers. The coffin is laid out on a stand. The pallbearers carry the coffin back to the hearse, their image reflecting in the shiny black metal of a car.

Back inside the church the vicar conducts a christening. Holding a baby in his hands water is poured from the font over the child’s head and the sign of the cross made.

A woman walks into the church and bows at the altar. She walks around the back of the church, takes a seat in a pew and begins to pray. Views follow of children praying from other pews. A young boy flicks through a copy of ‘The Book of Common Prayer’.

The film ends with a short phantom car ride along Trevelyan Drive to Wilfrid’s Church. The street is quiet with only a few vehicles passing along the way.

Title: The end

[B&W] Inside St Wilfrid’s church the minister speak to his congregation as part of a service. The church is full, and there are views showing the parishioners listen intently. A girl on the front pew looks directly into the camera.

Behind the altar the minister makes the sign of the cross as a small boy in the aisle plays, his mother speaking with him. Four smartly dressed older women sit listening intently. The camera pans along the aisle showing other parishioners listening to the sermon. Many of the younger members of the congregation look into the camera as it passes. The film ends on a series of close-ups on the faces of a number of the congregation, both old and young.