Film ID:
NEFA 22148



Visitor Tabs


Promotional film for British Shipbuilders about the delivery of bulk carriers Hupeh, built at the Deptford Yard, and the Sunderland Venture, the last SD-14 built at the Austin & Pickersgill Southwick yard, Sunderland. The ships are delivered to clients in Hong Kong, the Wahkwong Line and Taikoo Navigation Company, at a time of economic gloom for British industry.

Title: East by North East. The Hong Kong Connection

Men work on the construction of pre-fabricated steel ship parts at British Shipbuilders' Deptford Yard.

The Hupeh cargo ship's propeller churns up water as it is tested in dock.

Piece to camera at a quayside downriver from the Wear bridges at Sunderland that introduces a history of shipbuilding on the Wear. 'Over a century ago it was tea clippers [...] today their successors are the bulk carriers and the general cargo ships built both sides of the river.'

A piece to camera 7,000 miles away at Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, follows that introduces the history of trade between Sunderland and Hong Kong.

The 45,000 ton Hupeh bulk carrier, built for the Taikoo Navigation Company, part of the Swire Shipping group, is moored at the Deptford Yard dock. Men are working in the engine room.

Hupeh is launched into the Wear on a dark afternoon on 21 November 1983, a small crowd watching. The huge drag chains raise dust on the slipways. Hupeh moves off into the River Wear.

Two and a half months later, papers are signed for the hand-over to the owners. Pictures are taken. The British Shipbuilders flag is lowered and the new flag is raised by the ship's captain for owners Taikoo Navigation Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong.

Interview with the company's representative in Britain. He comments on the ship's performance in sea trials. A shipyard worker paints pipes on the deck of the ship. The interview continues about the quality of the ship.

Interview with Eric Welsh, Managing Director of British Shipbuilders, about the improvements the public corporation has made to deal with the challenging economic climate for the industry.

Cranes holding pre-fabricated parts for ship construction tower over the building berth of the Sunderland Shipbuilders Deptford Yard.

Upstream, all-weather covered yards at Pallion, once Doxfords, now part of British Shipbuilders, are located beside the Wear. A general view of men working on a bulk carrier follows.

A close-up shows a monitor of CAD (Computer-Aided Design) of a ship on screen. Men are working on ship designs in the computer room in Sunderland linked to Austin & Pickersgill across the river. Inside a covered shipyard facility, a ship is under construction. 

A bulk carrier called the Sunderland Venture sits in dock at Austin & Pickersgill, built for the Wah Kwong Shipping Agency, Hong Kong. The commentary states that the silhouette of the ship is familiar all over the world - an SD-14 - a famous design from Austin & Pickersgill (AP). 

Interview about the SD-14s with Managing Director, George Parker.

The AP flag is lowered on the Sunderland Venture. The Wah Kwong line representative makes a speech at the handover of the ship and guests applaud. The Sunderland Venture waits at the Austin & Pickersgill dock.

The scene shifts to busy river scenes in Hong Kong harbour, followed by exterior and interior views of the Wah Kwong high rise headquarters in the city. The Chairman and CEO of British Shipbuilders, Graham Day, arrives for a formal ceremony to mark the successful delivery on 15 February 1984 of the Sunderland Venture. A formal ceremony takes place with the presentation of a silver salver to Frank Chao, who runs the shipping line, and who once studied as a marine engineering student in Sunderland. A speech is made by Frank Chao. 

The Sunderland Venture sails down the River Wear.

At the headquarters of Swire Shipping, the British Shipbuilders Chairman now presents an inscribed salver at the Taikoo Navigation Company to mark the successful delivery of the bulk carrier M.V. Hupeh on 13 February 1984.

Shipyard workers untie the moorings of the Hupeh in Sunderland. The 'Marsden' tug boat of Newcastle tows the ship down the Wear. Close-up of the propeller churning water.

Interview with British Shipbuilders' Chairman and CEO, Graham Day, in Hong Kong.

The Hupeh moves out of the Deptford Yard on a misty autumn day, towed by tug boats. The interview with Graham Day continues.



John Warwick

Peter Brock

Keith Hawke

Andrew Leung



Tim Beale

Gordon Richards

Chan Cho Yan


Film Editor

Collin Sherman

Credit: Written and produced by Martin Adeney

Credit: A Laser Production for British Shipbuilders

©1984 British Shipbuilders

[Note: British Shipbuilders was privatised in 1983 under the terms of the British Shipbuilders Act 1983. The various divisions that had survived under nationalised ownership were divested throughout the 1980s as the company wound up operations.]