Film ID:
NEFA 13046



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A promotional film produced by The Charter Film Group to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the granting of a Charter to Hartlepool by King John in 1201. The film documents services provided by Hartlepool Council such as housing, emergency services, transport, and leisure facilities. Footage includes material on the local industries shipbuilding, fishing and magnesium production in the Hartlepool area.

Title: The Charter Film Group Presents:

Title: Hartlepool 1951

Credit: Photography: P. Parsons Cooper, W. Mellor

Credit: And D. Bowles, R.G. Davison, G.W. Young

Credit: Produced by T.C. Burnham

Credit: Directed by T. Ellison

Title: The group gratefully acknowledge the help given by the community of Hartlepool.

An electric powered bus pulls away and drives under a railway bridge, the Hartlepool emblem visible on its rear. There are low angle shots of St Hilda’s Church on The Headland, Hartlepool. A panoramic view from St Hilda’s Church tower and pan across The Headland rooftops, the waterfront from the lighthouse to the harbour, and back towards Croft on Heugh and Victoria Harbour and Docks.

The film switches to a shot of a factory chimney and a works whistle blowing. Two milk bottles sit on a doorstep. A young boy in braces collects the milk. Another shot of the works whistle blowing follows. The morning rush hour to work begins. A wide overhead shot of the West Hartlepool dockside landscape features double decker buses, cyclists and pedestrians heading towards work on a road parallel to a railway track and dock. The young boy, now dressed in school uniform, runs out of his house and round the corner. A schoolteacher walks out of a school and rings a hand bell. This is possibly the Baltic Street School. A group of small children run down the street towards the Victorian school. Overhead shots of the school yard where boys are playing, and girls playing in a separate playground, some forming large dance circles. The boys and girls then form into lines and are escorted back into school.

A woman in an apron washes her doorstep.

The scene cuts to marine engineering workshops. A close up of a lathe machine shaving sheet metal is followed by a shot of a man operating the large-scale mechanised machine on metal sheets. Further close ups of mechanised hole punching follow. A man oversees a sheet metal bending machine, with a shot of the sheet bending in long rollers.

The next scenes record stages of a ship, or tanker, under construction at the Central Marine Engineering Works (CMEW), William Gray and Company, West Hartlepool. The vessel sits beneath the tower crane, which dwarfs the landscape and features giant lettering of CMEW incorporated into the structure. The ship is launched with a bottle of champagne. Shots of the vessel moving down the slipway into the water follow.

Six men carry a small rowing boat from the J. H. Pounder & Co Ltd, Boatbuilders and Iron & Machinery Merchants building.

A crane unloads coal from the hold of a ship. Two men and a boy gather sea coal from a beach. There is an overhead shot of a conveyor unloading coal into the hold of a ship, throwing up huge clouds of coal dust. Two men level out coal piles in the ship hold.

A fisherman casts off. On Hartlepool Heugh Pier, a fisherman reels in a fish. Various scenes of fish unloaded in panniers onto the quayside from a trawler follow. Men are packing fish into wooden crates with ice at a quayside warehouse. The next scene records the gutting and preparation of fish. A group of men assemble for a quayside fish auction. A group shot shows the buyers and an auctioneer taking bids by phone and from the floor. A group of men and women watch two fishermen sorting rays in crates. Two fishermen use rope to repair their net. Fish are stacked in crates with stenciled Hartlepool business names that include James Patterson & Son, F. Ringwood, and W & G. Cook.

Title: Timber - a major import

Timber logs are hoisted onto the quayside from ship, watched by a group of workers with wrenches. There is a close-up of a man in white cravat shouting instructions. Another dock worker on the quayside gesticulates to crane operator. A British Rail steam cargo train leaves the docks loaded with logs. Men carry logs to a wood planing machine in a timber yard.

Title: New wealth from the sea

The next scenes document production at the coastal commercial plant of the British Periclase Company’s Hartlepool Magnesia Works, extracting magnesium from seawater, with shots of the cement pools, laboratory and bagging of chemical grade magnesia.

The works whistle blows for end of the day’s shift. Men race out of the shipyard after the day’s work, some running, some cycling towards camera.

A dramatised scene follows of the husband returning home to a meal prepared by the wife. A stereotype split-screen depiction of the nagging wife talking head inter-cut with a pneumatic drill, and the abrupt departure of the husband, clearly saying ‘No’ to his wife.

Title: '999'

This section features the dramatic reconstruction of a road accident, the arrival of the police, a large crowd of onlookers, particularly children, and the police car racing off with the injured man. A woman then arrives at the hospital.

Title: Young citizens meet their Mayor

A group of teenage boys in uniform race out of a school, walk to the Police Station and are ushered into a wood panelled office. A display of the Mayor’s ceremonial regalia such as the Chains of office, Mace and various documents and scrolls are laid out on a table. A man shows a parchment document to the boys. The Charter Roll granted by King John to the Borough of Hartlepool is displayed to camera. A man shows the boys the mayoral mace, a cup, and the mayor’s chains are placed around the neck of one of the boys. The shot of the boy wearing the chains, admired by his friends, fades to a shot of the mayor in chambers, smiling, dressed in his robes and chain.

A mace bearer enters Council Chambers and announces the entry of the mayor. Three Aldermen stand as the Mayor enters. People rise. The mace is placed on a table. Mayor Windebank JP declares the session open.

A hand underlines the words ‘Health & Housing’ in a council booklet dated 8th February 1951. The hand scrolls down to ‘Item 889 Housing Act, 1936-1949 - Demolition Order’ and underlines. Colin G. V. Pape rises and addresses chambers. The next scenes are of the demolition of housing in progress. A dumper truck unloads bricks at the site.

A hand underlines ‘Item 891 1951 - Housing Programme’ in a council list. Builders begin work on the foundations of new housing. There are close-ups of cement mixers in action. Bricklayers and hod carriers work on the construction of walls for the new housing, with detailed shots of bricklaying work. Workers load bricks onto a ‘Wild Builders Elevator’ conveyor for the construction of upper floors. Builders work on the roof. A general view of a semi-detached house nearing completion follows.

Councillor H. Pearson addresses chambers. Councillors T. G. Ellerington, W. Glaister and J. Westmoreland listen to his speech. Councillor T. McCarthy then speaks, watched by Councillors R. S. Boswell and A. J. Orley.

There is a view up Davison Drive, Hartlepool, with single storey bungalow housing in foreground. Various shots of the new council houses in the area follow. Overhead pan across the new housing and open ground looking towards the seafront, ending with an industrial plant visible in the background.

Councillors are sitting in chambers. A hand underlines ‘Item 3. Works & Transport' dated 6th February 1951 in a council list. There are close ups of a man and woman making a speech.

Brief shots of a Borough of Hartlepool street cleaning vehicle in operation.

A hand underlines ‘Item 6 Finance & Establishment’ in a council list. A brief low angle shot of a man making a speech follows.

A council employee signs a paper at a council works finance counter. Cash is placed in a Gladstone bag and stored in a safe.

A hand underlines ‘Item 2 Entertainments & Catering’ dated 5th February 1951 in a council list. A brief low angle shot of a man making a speech follows. Alderman H. Lightfoot rises and speaks in the council chambers. A woman pours tea at a hatch. Children roller skate around a spotlit indoor skating rink, (which may be the Queen's Rink Ballroom in Clarence Road).

The Mayor speaks at a meeting in the council chamber.

Title: Time for play.

Young boys play football on a lawn beside the sea. As a boy kicks a football, the film cuts to a rugby match with goal scored on a Hartlepool rugby ground, with rail line and bridge in background outside the wooden stadium.

A small boy waits for a group of older girls, two pushing prams, on the Headland Promenade, Hartlepool. Another boy runs down an adjoining path to follow.

Next, there are shots of a doubles tennis match, and a game of bowls.

A group of children (previously on Promenade) walk past the Redheugh Gardens with Angel statue, also known as the Memorial Garden, bordered by Cliff Terrace and Radcliffe Terrace. A boy in school uniform overtakes them and walks towards the sea front Town Wall. The boy looks out over the wall and a shot of a rough sea follows. People are standing on the Heugh Breakwater, Headland, on a foggy day. The boy looks down from the wall again. Children are paddling in two outdoor concrete paddling pools at Block Sands and look up towards the camera.

A boy dives from a high diving board into the 1920s-built Hartlepool outdoor bathing pool, near to the Headland, (destroyed by a severe storm in 1953.) There are various shots of swimming races. An audience watches from the stands. Women parade in swimsuits beside the pool, and line up for judges.

Water crashes onto rocks off the Headland. Children play on the beach by Town Wall, Headland.

The camera pans across Croft Gardens with St Hilda’s Church in the background. People enjoy leisure time in the gardens. Two elderly men in suits and hats are playing drafts with outsize pieces, on a board built into a paved area in Croft Gardens. A brass band plays in the gardens.

A man pushes off his rowing boat from a quayside, (possibly the ferryboat used to cross the harbour from Old Hartlepool to Middleton, with the last ferryman, Bull Boagey.) A shot of the lighthouse fading to darkness ends the film.

End Credit: The End

Note: Baltic Street was located in old Hartlepool which ran between the sea front almost north to south to Victoria Dock and across Durham Street. St Helen's School occupies a lot of the site now.