Film ID:
NEFA 15590



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A film made by the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association to celebrate the Centenary of the Blaydon Races. The film follows various events taking place around Blaydon, Gateshead, and Newcastle including a boat race on the River Tyne. Many other sporting and social events are featured with the film culminates with a parade from the "Balmbras" public house to Blaydon.

Title: ACA - Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association Presents.

Title: The Centenary of the Blaydon Races 1862-1962.

Title: Sponsored by the centenary committee in order to record the many events organised to celebrate the occasion.

Credit: Compiled by Jack Wrightson, Reg Townsend, Ian Davidson, Reg Hall, Geoff Richardson, Doug Collender, Morris Burdon, David Watson, Keith Venn, Walter Clark, Leslie Greaves, Jack Whillis.

Credit: Edited and produced by George Cummin.

The film opens on the painting "The Blaydon Races" by William Irving.

The film cuts to an overhead view outside Balmbra's public house in Cloth Market, Newcastle of a large crowd of people; some of whom are wearing Victorian costumes.

A policewoman places a yellow shawl over the shoulders of a woman in a large pink dress. A civic party enters Balmbra's watched over by the crowd.

In a large room a woman brushes the hair of a man seated in front of her. Behind stand four men in white shirts and bow-ties.

A second woman and a man stick on fake sideburns and moustaches onto two other men who are also wearing white shirts and bowties.

In the street an older man in Victorian dress is being photographed holding a large bottle. A coachman in Victorian dress attends to a series of harnessed horses.

The film cuts to a young woman in riding gear gently pats her horse. General views of crowds watching the Gymkhana in Exhibition Park.

On the competition ground 15 year old Andrew Fielder and his horse Vibart jump over a set of gates. General views of crowds watching the gymkhana.

Keith Holmes and his horse Fair-Dinkum fail to jump a gate and it is knocked over. Harry Kay and George Duncan are seen putting the gate back together again.

Daphne Foster and her horse jumps the gate but fail at another. General views of her and her horse completing the rest of the course. A woman with an 8mm camera films the event.

Rosettes are presented to three of the winning riders and horses.

The film cuts to a large crowd of people standing on the pavement or walking up and down Prudoe Place underneath a sign that reads “Centenary of Blaydon Races. Newcastle to Blaydon Open Road Race. Saturday 2nd June. Starts Here 3pm”.

The Town Crier wearing a red coat walks down Percy Street ringing a bell.

Four competitors jump up and down on the spot warming up. The horse-drawn Blaydon Bus travelling slowly along Prudoe Place and Newgate Road.

General views of runners and officials preparing for the start of the race while spectators watch from the pavement. The Centenary Queen Sheila McFarlane walks past holding a bouquet. The Mayor of Newcastle George Jacobson speaks with the race starter.

The race gets underway and competitors run out of Prudoe Place and into Percy Street and along Newgate Street past the Co-Operative building.

The film cuts to Blaydon and general views of a vintage and veteran car rally taking place in a field. People are seen looking over various cars and the rally gets underway by Councillor Stephenson.

Spectators watch from the verge as a line of cars slowly move out of the field. More spectators, some with Union Jack flags, stand and watch as the cars travel past Blaydon railway station.

Tommy Eliot leads the road race as he and the other competitor’s run along a Blaydon road beside a large brick wall.    

A sign above a shop reads: ‘Callers. Newcastle to Blaydon Open Road Race. Saturday 2nd June. Finish Here 3.15pm’.

Vintage and veteran cars come under a bridge and make their way slowly up an inclined road. Some of them are being shadowed by a number of young boys on bicycles.

At Barras Bridge spectators line the pavement. Scaffolding can be seen which surrounds the partially completed Newcastle Civic Centre.  The cars travel along Barras Bridge and turn into Claremont Road and into Exhibition Park.

Inside Exhibition Park officials point the cars to their designated parking places. General view of crowds looking over the parked cars.

The Mayor and Centenary Queen present tankards to various drivers watched over by a large crowd. There are various views of different vintage or veteran cars. A tankard is presented to Mr A.J. Metcalf Jnr for winning the vintage class and Mr Simpson for winning the veteran class. Both men sitting in their cars hold up their tankards for the camera.

In a Blaydon Street bunting and Union Jack flags hang between the houses as a large crowd waits for the arrival of the road runners. Tommy Eliot runs past the Blaydon Hotel to come first followed by Arthur Dennins and Jack Hurn. All three are mobbed by the crowd.

The film cuts to a large crowd standing outside Newcastle City Hall on Northumberland Road for the Brass Band Competition. A group of musicians in red jackets stands in front of the entrance, one of them begins to play the tuba. General view of other bands as they prepare to go inside.

The film cuts to a Rolls-Royce being driven into Exhibition Park. Various civic dignitaries, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Whitley Bay, enter a marquee that is being guarded by two men in uniform.

Inside the marquee guests are greeted by the Reception committee consisting of the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Newcastle, the Sheriff Alderman Mrs Scott and the Sheriffs Lady, Councillor and Mrs Stevenson from Blaydon and others.

General view of a bar with people drinking and chatting. Dignitaries stand behind their chairs at their respective dining tables as the Lord Mayor and Mayoress walk to their seats. General view of people enjoying their meals followed by them dancing.  

The film cuts to Blaydon Town Square where a group of bicycle riders wait to start the Tour-de-Blaydon cycle race. Councillor Stephenson stands in the road with a Union Jack flag ready to start the race. He waves the Union Jack and the race gets underway.

The riders pass Swallow Roundabout and a sign that reads: ‘The Northern Goldsmith’s Silver Tankard Cycle Road Race’.

At Rowlands Gill three cyclists have broken away as they ride around a steep curve in the road. Spectators sit on the grassy verge as the cyclists ride past a number of parked cars. They go slower as they climb Summerhill Bank.

A soldier from the Signals Regiment lies on the grass at the centre of Swallow Roundabout. He is holding a microphone in his hand. The riders travel around the roundabout past the solider and a small group of spectators.

At Chain Bridge Road a large crowd wait for the riders to cross the finish line. First across is Beckinson. A group of spectators look over the top of large ‘Esso Extra’ sign. More riders cross the finishing line while officials take down details on a clipboard.

Councillor Stephenson hands over winning tankards to first, second and third place competitors. General view of the crowd clapping and competitors chatting.

The film cuts to the inside of the Black Bull public house in Blaydon and a woman stands on a stage singing into a microphone. Chairman Frankie Burns stands beside her in a dinner jacket and holding a hammer. A man walks past carrying a tray of beer.

General views of the audience, many in Victorian costumes, singing along. Frankie Burns talks to the crowd holding the hammer and a pint of beer. The sequence ends with the singer, Frankie Burns and three other standing together on the stage.

A group of school children are led into Newcastle City Hall. On stage they are seen seated and wearing various costumes. The audience clap and cheer.

Overhead view of a number of women and young girls in traditional dress dancing on stage as part of the Festival of Youth.

A woman in green tap dances ‘Cushie Butterfileld’s Wedding’.  A group of young men perform a sword dance. Around a table four young women in costumes clap along. The film cuts to a group of uniformed school girls look bored.

On stage a group of Scouts and Scout Masters perform a campfire sings-song in front of a tent and fake fire.

Female members of the YWCA perform a dramatic scene concerned with social welfare. A group of women on stage look over a set of fishing nets. 

The film cuts to Newcastle Quayside where a number of people climb aboard the ‘Tyne Dutchess’ ferry. Valarie Dennis from Tyne Tees Television is presented with a trophy before she climbs aboard. She is followed by The Centenary Queen Sheila McFarlane and behind her a large entourage of men.

The ‘Tyne Duchess’ pulls away from the quayside and travels up steam under the Tyne Bridge toward the Swing Bridge.   

The film cuts to an overhead view of four eight-man rowing boats waiting underneath the Scotswood Chain Bridge. On the bridge a large crowd of spectators looks on.

The ‘Tyne Duchess’ comes under the bridge and the race gets underway. Views of the rowing boats travelling up stream followed by the judge’s launch and the ‘Tyne Duchess’.

A large crowd walks out of a back alley onto a street.

The rowers come round the bend at Blaydon showing the Blaydon church clock on the far bank. General views of the rowers travelling along the river and past a set of smoke stacks and the Dunston B Power Station.

General view looking downstream from the Newburn Bridge showing the rowers heading upstream and the Dunston B Power Station in the distance.  

The winning boat passing under the Newburn Bridge watched by a crowd of spectators on the Gateshead side of the river. Two men with film camera record the event from an elevated position.

The judges launch turns towards the river bank. General view of the winning Durham team standing outside a boathouse.

On the boathouse balcony overlooking a crowd of spectators The Centenary Queen stands holding a trophy. Standing next to her is Valarie Dennis who speaks to the crowd before presenting the trophy to the Durham team.

The film cuts to the Municipal Stadium in Newcastle and a man in a red jacket and cap loading a starter pistol. He fires it into the air and a sprint race gets underway. Spectators and officials watch another sprint race come to an end.

International athlete Elizabeth “Joy” Grieveson poses for the camera.

A women’s 880 race gets underway watched over by a crowd of spectators. Joy Grieveson comes up behind the main group. Jean Backhouse comes in to win the followed by the other competitors.

General views showing two javelins being thrown and officials taking measurements. A number of male runners cross a winning line watched over by a group of judges sitting at a trellis table. Another male race comes to an end watched over by spectators and judges.

The film cuts to Newcastle Town Moor and Brian Holden sitting on a raised platform. A large crowd of people stand around a series of motorcycle scramble bikes.

General views of competitors checking over their motorbikes get ready to start the race. On the start line Ken Holloway, holding a Union Jack flag, paces out the starters walk. The race gets underway.

On Cow Hill spectators watch as the riders pass. Alan Kedrick is in the lead as the competitors travel at speed around the course watched over by crowds of spectators standing behind a rope. The winner rides across the finish line.

General views of a second race with Stan Jones in the lead. He crosses the checked-flag in first place.

A side-car race gets underway across a misty Town Moor. General views from around the race of the bikes speeding past. An official holds up a green flag as two bikes nearly collide and get entangled on a corner where the cameraperson is standing.

An official holds up a green flag as the other competitors ride past. The winning bike, ridden by Jack Martin on the bike and Bob Hurst in the sidecar, crosses the finishing line.

Councillor Cuthbertson presents the winners with their trophies watched over by a large crowd.

The film cuts to the Northumberland Roads Baths where four women dive into the pool to begin a race. At the far end of the pool the competitors turn and are watched by spectators in the galleries. A woman in a red bathing-cap wins the race.

Four male swimmers diver into the pool watched over by an officials and a number of young people. Neil Nicholson wins the breaststroke.

The film cuts to Newcastle City Hall where the police choir are performing on stage. An audience of older women clap enthusiastically. Frank Burns, a female singer and one of the Five Smith Brothers perform for the crowd.

Inside the Exhibition Park marquee people take part in a Northumbrian Barn Dance. Some of the men are wearing kilts. The film shows one of the musicians in the band playing an accordion.

A man conducts another group of musicians. General views of people dancing the waltz, quickstep and foxtrot.

A band of jazz musicians wearing straw hats perform for a group of dancing teenagers.

At the Mayfair Ballroom the Britannia Coconut Dancers, in their blacked-up faces, perform their garland dance watched by a large crowd of people seated at tables around the dance floor.

A young woman in a kilt performs a sword dance. She is followed by a group of traditional Morris Dancers.

The West Indian Mellow Tones perform a limbo dance with the bar being lowered lower and lower.

The film cuts back to an overhead view outside Balmbra's public house in Cloth Market, Newcastle and a large crowd of people; some of whom are wearing Victorian costumes.

In a large darkened room inside Balmbra's an announcer stands on a stage speaks into a microphone. A number of men and women in Victorian costumes are in the audience watching a group of women perform the Can Can dance on the stage.

Back outside on Cloth Market a horse and carriage prepare to move off watched over by a large crowd. Behind, the Coronation Queen is seated in her own carriage and adjusts her crown. The Lord Mayor climbs inside the front carriage.

Other councillors come out of Balmbra's in various costumes watched over by a large crowd.

The horse and carriage containing the Lord Mayor pulls away and travel along Collingwood Street. They are followed by the Coronation Queen in her carriage and other dignitaries in various other horse drawn carriages including the Blaydon Bus.

Outside Central Station on Neville Street other floats wait to join the procession. The RAF band stands outside the station

Three policemen on horseback ride in front of the band of the Coldstream Guards who are leading the procession along Scotswood Road. Bunting hangs across the street and large crowds watch from both sides of the road.

General views of carriages travelling along Scotswood Road with the people on board waving at the crowds.

Onboard a float a man is singing watched by a small group standing on the road. Behind him is a large sign that reads: ‘1862. What’s Missing Here? Dowsons Pickles’. Another float has large signs painted along the side that reads; ‘1862 Centenary of Blaydon. 1962. The Modern Home is all Electric!’. A group playing brass instruments and wearing costumes perform aboard another float.

General view of high rise flats at Cruddas Park. Crowds line Scotswood Road as the processions of decorative floats and military marching bands passes by. A cameraman films both the crowds and procession from on top of a moving car which is part of the procession. Part of the procession includes one from the Post Office Telecommunication Satellites and Carricks the local bakery chain.

Looking down from a window in a Cruddas Park high rise flat the procession passes Vickers-Armstrongs factory.

The band of the Coldstream Guards leads the procession under a railway bridge and across the Scotswood Chain Bridge. Crowds of spectators line the riverbank on the south side of the river as the procession travels towards Blaydon.

Three young women sit high up in an open top car. The car is mobbed by crowds walking beside it.

The film cuts to an overhead view of large crowds lining the street outside St Cuthbert's church as the procession enters Blaydon. The Guinness coach gallops past the church into Garden Street. Carrying their banner Crookhall Colliery Band turns into Garden Street followed by a float on which a young girl performs on a trampoline. Beside her on the float a group of boys perform a sword dance. A float on which a model of St Nicholas Cathedral is seated manages to get underneath the bunting, but only just. Two men push their penny-farthing bicycles past the church. The procession ends with a series of children’s jazz bands in their colourful uniforms

Crowds people swarm along a Blaydon road that looks towards the river.

On a podium Councillor Stevenson presents a certificate to a costumed woman.

The film cuts to a crowded racecourse and families eating a picnic on the grass. General view of various bookmakers taking bets from a number of men.

Overhead view of the racecourse at Blaydon where a sulky [harness] race is taking place. From the racetrack a number of sulky riders pass.

A horse drawn wagon drives onto the racecourse. Along the side is a banner that reads: ‘Balmbras Can Can Girls’.

A jockey removes a saddle from the back of a horse.

A trotting race begins with a field of five horses. General views of the horses racing around the grass course watched over by crowds of spectators. The winning horse Sea-Song crossing the line. The jockey, Margaret Hindson, stands beside her horse.

The film cuts to a band playing inside the marquee at Exhibition Park and Hugh Gaitskell dancing with a woman in a red dress. General view of people dancing and Hugh Gaitskell dancing with the Centenary Queen.

Mr & Mrs Miles, the event organisers, dance together in Victorian costumes and Hugh Gaitskell continues to dance with the Centenary Queen.

Councillor Stephenson presents the Geordie Ridley Silver Trophy to the secretary of the Crookhall Colliery band. General views of people sitting at tables.

General views of fireworks taking place at the racecourse at Blaydon.  

The film ends with a view of the Geordie Ridley Silver Trophy Statuette.

Title: The End.