Film ID:
NEFA 22308

ESTUARY

1974

Visitor Tabs

Description

This film is a meditative look at activity on the River Tees, split into three sections. The first and longest section looks at the work of the famous Transporter Bridge, which links Middlesbrough on the south bank of the Tees with Port Clarence on the north bank. The next section follows the work of foyboatmen, who assist with the mooring of large vessels coming into port. The final section looks at the area of Greatham Creek on the north side of the Tees with its fishermen and associated houseboats.

Title: Estuary

Title: Aspects of the River Tees by Roger Schindler, Brian Byrne, David Eadington

The opening views shows winding gear for the Transporter Bridge in operation, and the steel cables from the gondola, which transports the vehicles and passengers, as it moves across the river.  The gondola approaches the camera. A man sits in the control cabin operating the doors and gates on the gondola as it arrives at the river bank. The controller sits in his cabin, which is situated above the gondola platform.

A view from below shows the bridge's steel structure and the gantry, from which the gondola is suspended. More views follow of the supporting cables, making patterns as they move across. An overhead view shows the dappled waters of the river Tees. A tug appears on the river, and the gondola loaded with vehicles moves across.

An assistant locks the safety gates of the Transporter so that foot passengers and vehicles are secure for the next journey. Electric barriers descend in front of the gates. General views show more of the structure of the bridge; this is followed by a view of the gondola heading towards the opposite bank.

Back in the controller's cabin,  the gondola approaches the riverbank on the Port Clarence side. The gondola comes to a halt, the gates are opened and the travellers depart. A low angle view shows off the imposing structure of the bridge in the setting sun. From various angles, the film tracks the gondola as it crosses the river once again.

[leader inserted as pacer]

The next part of the film looks at the work of the foyboatmen on the river. Licensed by the port authority since 1963, the Tees foyboatmen provide a mooring and unmooring service to all vessels using berths on the river Tees. Men in a small boat approach a ship. A rope is thrown down from the ship to the boat. The men retrieve the rope and secure it to a bollard on the dockside. The men use a pole with a hook to capture other ropes, and in turn secure these to bollards. One of the foyboatmen climbs a ladder on the dockside and gives a loop of rope to a colleague to secure. More views follow of the same procedure, the men in the boat  ensuring that the ship is securely moored.

[leader inserted as pacer]

The next sequence shows the bleak area of Greatham Creek a popular area for fishermen with small boats. General view of the calm waters and marshy areas of the creek at Greatham, near Hartlepool. Small boats lie moored at the Creek. Fishermen's cabins and houseboats are dotted about the marsh. Some of the houseboats are in a state of decay. Two men repair a small wooden fishing boat. The camera cuts to a view of an abandoned and decrepit boat. The two men continue with their repairs.

The film ends with a view across the Tees estuary as the sun sets, looking towards Teesside and industrial cooling towers where the plumes of steam look dramatic against the western sky.

Credit: Teesside College of Art 1974