Film ID:
NEFA 22295

A CITY SYMPHONY

1940s

Visitor Tabs

Description

A day in the life of a city in an amateur film portrait of Newcastle upon Tyne by an early Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association member, S. J. Rosslyn Smith.

Title: A City Symphony

Title: A Tale of a Metropolis

Credit: Filmed by S. J. Rosslyn Smith

Early in the morning, the milkman delivers milk to a doorstep. A bedside alarm clock shows that it’s 7 o’clock. Two bottles of milk are on the doorstep. Someone reaches out and picks up the clock and lays it face down back on the cabinet. A paper boy delivers a newspaper. A cat prowls on a garden wall and approaches the back door of a house as a pet dog runs out.

A train pulls into a station and a mass of people get off and make their way hurriedly to work. Outside on the Newcastle city centre streets, people are heading to work. People queue for a No. 4B double decker bus and scramble on board. A trolley bus passes.

[Film speeded up]

People hop off a bus advertising Binns department store and Trumans beer. Trolley buses pass the Grand Hotel on Percy Street and Barras Bridge. The Church of St Thomas the Martyr clock reads ten to nine. Workers enter their office building.

In an older part of the city, the West Walls of the medieval city stand. Two children walk down Back Stowell Street, where steps lead to the door to Morden Tower. Various shots record the old stone walls, cobbled lanes and chares, gas lamps, castle walls. A sign points one way to Morden Tower, another to Heber Tower in the town walls. Various shots of medieval stone buildings follow. 

A bird pecks at scraps in the road. An old wooden door advertises ‘best coals’. A toddler in Wellingtons struggles with a sign outside the coal business. Several children are hanging around the entrance as a man shovels coal into a scuttle and pours it into a sack for a customer.

Nearby, an old stone house has a garden filled with plants and flower boxes are at the windows. A door opens. Another house looks derelict. A young schoolgirl walks down a stair, books under her arm. A woman hangs out washing in a back lane. Exterior shot of the plaque at the Taylor’s meeting hall in the Blackfriars. Various shots of the stone walls in this medieval district follow, old insignia picked out. A coal truck is being loaded with sacks. The tiled roofs of old buildings need repair and a chimney stack is leaning.

People walk by outside the Holy Jesus Hospital, an Almshouse on City Road. General views follow of the brick building, a woman collecting water in a jug from an outside tap down the arched colonnade.[Film speeded up] More exterior shots of building s follow, St Nicholas Cathedral in the background. Two men emerge from a chare near the Castle keep. A steam train moves along the track towards the tower high above the street. Various dark, atmospheric shots of the interior and exterior detail follow. Dow below the keep, people cross the cobbled square.

A LNER steam train heads towards Newcastle’s Central Station. A tug boat tows a series of barges under the Swingbridge on the Tyne. Boats are mowed three deep on the Quayside near the High Level Bridge. A horse drawn cart crosses the bridge along with the motor vehicles. It heads past the Jacobean merchants houses known as Bessie Surtees House on Newcastle's Sandhill. A brief shot looking down a medieval chare towards the Quayside.

A draftsman is at work in an office. A woman is making out orders in another business. Workers in the centre are beginning to head home. The draftsman yawns and checks his pocket watch. The woman piles up her ledgers and puts them away in her desk, leaving the stock room. The draftsman starts to cover his technical drawing, put on his coat and leave. Outside, a little lad kicks a football. A woman and her son is walking home. Workers crowd out onto the Newcastle streets after work, leaving offices and heading home.

A brief tracking shot shows a flower stall. People walk down Northumberland Street past Cook’s Corner (and the Thomas Cook store). People get off a bus. A traffic policeman is directing traffic and the pavements are crowded with pedestrians.

Light is fading over the rooftops of Newcastle homes. The cat is put out for the night and runs off for nocturnal adventures.

Title: The End