Film ID:
NEFA 21531



Visitor Tabs


An amateur film made by members of the Chester-le-Street Amateur Cine Society about their town in County Durham around 1968. The film records construction on the new A1 Motorway Bridge over the River Wear, the town's busy Front Street and market, and teenagers dancing and playing games at a new youth club. There's a a snapshot of the men of the Model Engineering Society at Riverside Park and the film also documents a children's pageant, disabled archery and angling on the River Wear in the grounds of Lumley Castle. The final part of the film shows some of the bridges along the Wear and the nearby Finchale Priory.

Titles: Chester-le-Street. A.C.S. Presents

Title: Chester-le-Street

Title: Appreciation for contributions to Mesdames Wanless, Nuttrall, Levington, Finlay and H. Cox. R. Currey. H.H. Alderson

Credt: Editor H. Cox

The film opens with footage of the recently completed A1 Motorway Bridge over the River Wear. General views show the construction work still taking place on the bridge and traffic on a feeder road, roundabout and junction. General view of Chester-le-Street from a hill with sheep grazing in a nearby field. The spire of St Mary and St Cuthbert’s Church and the Railway Viaduct are dominant features on the skyline, as is the tall chimney of Horner's Toffee factory to the right.

The film cuts to general views of a busy Front Street showing both pedestrians and traffic, the old 'Crown' pub amongst the buildings. A car with an ‘L plate turns out of Middle Chare into Front Street past Benefit Footwear shop. A long line of traffic waits to move north along Front Street with the Chester-le-Street Methodist Church in the near distance. Traffic moves across a small roundabout past the Methodist church on the corner of Newcastle Road and Picktree Lane.

On Market Place, a group of women stand next to a market stall as a man holds up a piece of fabric. A woman makes a purchase and the stallholder counts out her change. Standing on the back of a lorry a man is selling boxes of shoes. There is a display of colourful flowers for sale on another stall. People walk around the various market stalls and look at items for sale.

A diesel engine pulls a number of passenger carriages across the Railway Viaduct. Cars are parked in a space near to its base. Coal wagons cross the viaduct.

The film returns to Front Street and more general views of pedestrians and road traffic. Back at Market Place, two boys climb across the now empty stalls. Three men load wooden boxes onto a flatbed lorry. A number of rubbish piles sit at the edge of Market Place waiting to be collected. Men are seen dismantling the temporary market stalls. Back along Front Street, traffic passes H. Young Motor Ltd garage.

Exterior views follow of St Mary and St Cuthbert’s Church of England church, blackened with soot and grime, and the war memorial on Church Chare. A number of parishioners come out of the church. The church is contrasted with a modern brick building. Inside, teenagers take part in sports including netball and trampolining. Some young women play table-tennis while the boys play darts in the background. Teenagers enjoy themselves dancing. Sitting at a table, a young woman holds a bottle of Pepsi-Cola while talking to someone off screen. At the bar area three young men chat over a coffee.

The next sequence records activities at Riverside Park, opening with a shot of the ornate iron gates. In the park, men and women stroll with ice creams. The camera pans around an ornate laid out garden with rose bushes. General views follow of people playing bowls on a green in front of a pavilion, boys playing a game of open air draughts with outsized pieces. In a playground children play on swings, a climbing frame and roundabout.

A painted sign reads ‘Chester-Le-St. M.E.S. [Model Engineering Society] PRIVATE. Members Only’. The film cuts to a man loading kindling into the boiler of a miniature replica of The Tennant E5 (NER 1463) steam engine with green livery. The film changes to show a man at the controls of the engine travelling along a track and coming to a stop. There is a view of a miniature green shunter engine. A man loads coal into the boiler of the shunter and a small fire can be seen burning inside the firebox. A man with a pipe works on the replica of The Tennant as steam comes out of the funnel. The Tennant comes slowly along the track carrying two men. General views of the engine hauling passengers, travelling around the track at speed.

The film cuts to a paddling pool with large crowds of children splashing around in the water and adults sitting around the edges. A mother and father hold a child’s hands, lifting him in and then back out of the water. Around the pool area, people sit relaxing on deckchairs or on the ground.

Following a brief shot of people walking beside the pavilion near the bowling green, there is a view of the nearby Lumley Castle. Two men pulling golf caddies walk by, Lumley Castle in the background. One of the men waves at the camera as they pass.

The film cuts to a procession of young people dressed in historical costumes carrying a coffin. The coffin most likely represents that of St Cuthbert who was originally buried in the parish church before being moved to Durham. Four of the children rush up the steps to the entrance of Lumley Castle and three of them bang on the door. The doors open and a number of other costumed children rush out and they all rush back down the step. At one end of the castle driveway, a group of children stand watching another group of children dressed as a dragon, possibly the Lambton Worm, coming their way. Behind the worm come more children dressed as knights. On the steps of the castle more shots follow of some of the costumed children.

A large marquee sits in a field and a number of vehicles (including a blue NCB van) are parked along a drive of the Hermitage, an old country house in Chester-le-Street, and an NCB home for disabled miners at the time.  In the grounds of the Hermitage a group of disabled athletes take part in an archery competition, watched by a small crowd. Competitors wait with their bows resting beside their wheelchair while others collect their arrows for them. General views of various competitors firing again at the targets. A man in a wheelchair speaks with someone off screen while holding a cigarette. He then poses with a female nurse. The man holds up a badge to camera with the name 'Hermitage' just visible.

Along the River Wear a man in a wheelchair fishes with a rod. Beside him is a sign with the number ‘3’ on it. [Out of focus] General views follow of other disabled competitors fishing along the river watched by a number of spectators. An able bodied man casts his rod into the water.

General views of the River Wear passing under Lambton Road Bridge and Chester New Bridge and of Finchale Priory as seen from the river. The film cuts to views inside the ruined priory. Back on the other side of the Wear, people stroll along the river edge beside the priory, a footbridge in the near distance. The films ends with on a view of the priory, the camera pulling back into cover of trees.

Title: The End