Film ID:
NEFA 12584



Visitor Tabs


An amateur film in both colour and black and white, filmed and edited by John W. McHugh of the Gateshead Police Photographic Unit. Shot in June 1944, the film documents many of the community activities taking place in both Saltwell Park and the Shipcote Baths in Gateshead as part of the government “Holidays at Home” initiative during the Second World War.


Title: Holidays at Home

Credit: Photographed & Edited by John W. McHugh Gateshead Police Photographic Dept.

Title: Saltwell Park, Gateshead. June 1944.

The film opens with a panoramic view of Saltwell Park on a sunny day.

General views of the park, crowded with visitors lounging on the lawns, rowing on the boating lake, paddling in the water, in bathing suits on the island in the middle of the lake.

Children play on the swings and slide at the children’s playground. At the jetty, a crowd of people wait their turn for rowing boats.

Title: The Mayor and Mayoress Councillor S.A. Heppell, JP & Mrs A. Heppell on the Opening Day.

A young girl curtseys and presents a bouquet to Mrs Heppell. The Mayor, wearing his chains of office, poses for the camera, the young girl standing on his left.

The Mayor & Mayoress watch a display of children riding or leading ponies and horses. The Mayor & Mayoress again pose for the camera with contestants and horses.

The Mayor & Mayoress award medals to a number of young boys.

The Mayor & Mayoress enjoy a spin on a roundabout, also crowded with young children. The Mayor waves his hat as the roundabout turns.

Title: With Mr T. Magnay, M.P. At the Bowling Greens.

A group of men stand on a bowling green as the Mayor shakes Member of Parliament, Mr Magnay’s hand. Mr Magney talks to the crowd.

The Mayor and Mayoress play bowls on the green, a large crowd of people watching in the background.

Title: Fun & Games.

Fairground rides are set up at busy with visitors. The camera pans across the 'Gray’s Speedway' ride.

Children are seen riding in miniature buggies pulled by ponies.

In the busy playground crowds of children playing on carousel swings, roundabouts and slides. A soldier is glimpsed walking past in the foreground.

General view of a group of children pose for the camera on a large climbing frame and them sliding down the slide.

A group of men and women pose in a line and wave to camera, many of the women in white overalls.

Title: Children’s Sports.

A toddler is lead at speed by a man in a suit.

A man with a cigarette hanging from his month gives a coin each to a group of young girls.

General views of a number of children’s races include running races, a sack race, and a girl’s skipping race.

Women in trench coats take part in a race.

General view of a skipping race.

A man sits at a garden table counting money.

General views of more children’s sports take place watched over by crowds.

A men’s race takes place that includes a number of policemen contestants.

A race for older teenagers is won by a girl in a blue dress.

In a boy’s piggyback race, two of the competitors fall over before they reach the finish line.

A comedy race featuring girls wearing sacks over the head race down the track running into each other.

Title: Netball. N.F.S. “F” Div. – 30. A.T.S. - - 6

A netball match is played with two teams of young women from the National Fire Service (NFS) and the Auxilliary Territorial Service (ATS). A group of four people, including a young man in army uniform, watch the match. Large crowds of people are watching the match from the sidelines. Children play on playground rides in the background.

The team in white and brown pose for the camera alongside a number of other women in Auxilliary Territorial Service uniform and also one woman in an NFS uniform.

Title: N.F.S. No. 1 Region Pipe Band.

A National Fire Service bagpipe band, wearing uniforms and kilts, marches past the crowd. The film focuses on a number of the drummers as the band performs for the crowd. The band continues to march around the field, led by a man holding a baton.

There is a sign that reads 'Gateshead Holidays at Home. Bowls Tournament'

Title: The Magnay Cup.

A large silver trophy stands on a wooden base.

A bowls tournament is being played on the green and several men take shots at the jack. Crowds of people watch in the background as the tournament takes place. The final match is played for the trophy, with large crowds of onlookers.

Title: Mr T. Magnay, M.P. Presents the Cup to the Winner, Mr R. Redfern.

Mr Magnay presents the trophy on the green to Mr Redfern. The crowd in the background are clapping.

Title: Dancing on the Green.

Groups of young women and girls dance in pairs on the green. Only a couple of men in civilian clothes can be seen. After a few seconds everyone change partners. Crowds of people are watching in the background.

Two American G.I. soldiers are dancing with a number of the young women. One of the men is chewing gum.

While some of the dancers perform more traditional dances, a number of pairs begin to dance with more contemporary swing and jive moves. The film focuses on a young couple, the man swinging the woman around with some skill. She stands out in the crowd as she is wearing a bright red dress with white belt.

Title: These kids do the most Unexpected Things – But we know where we have this one.

A toddler in white is sitting up in a pram looking at the camera.

Title: Children’s Display.

A group of young girls in leotards give perform synchronised gymnastics to a crowd of onlookers.

A group of young girls perform a dance.

Teenage boys in white perform vault gymnastics.

The film then shows all the children and young people who took part in the above events marching in a military style.

Title: Mr Punch Introduces Himself.

General view of a section of the large crowd of children at the Punch & Judy show.

A policeman stands by the Punch and Judy booth as a man in a suit, followed by a woman in a feather hat, shake Mr Punch’s hand.

There is another view into the crowd of children.

A female civic dignitary, wearing ceremonial chain, gives a speech beside the show booth, two men in suits nearby. There are close-ups of the Punch and Judy show in action.

Title: Behind the Scenes.

General view from inside the Punch and Judy booth, standing behind the puppeteer

General view of the Punch and Judy show as well as of the crowd of children watching the show intently.

Title: Children’s Sports.

A girl’s race starts up.

A number of boys try to get under a canvas sheet on an assault course. A number of men, including a policeman, appear and help the boys by holding the canvas sheet in place.

The boys cross the finish line and are then presented with a coin medal.

General view of a girl's egg & spoon .

Title: Final Allocation.

A man is holding a number of eggs in his hands while a young boy holds a sack into which the eggs are placed.

Three mixed races for young children follow.

The film then shows three mixed toddler races.

A sack race for girls takes place with competitors starting the race laying on the ground inside their sacks.

There is another toddler race where a young boy falls over, starts to cry and is picked up by the father.

In another toddler race, a young girl in a blue dress stares continually at camera as she runs the race.

The young children are presented with Union Jack flags.

Title: Hello! Black Market??

Cues of people are standing in front of the 'Dragone' ice cream van.

Title: Sorry. Not Ice Cream.

A young girl in glasses eats a small cake.

A sign reads 'Saltwell Bowls Club. Saltwell Vs. Visitors'. Four pieces of paper hang from a sign that reads Gateshead and Newcastle.

Title: The Mayor Welcomes Team Captains. Mr T. Magnay, M.P, Gateshead. Alderman G. Dixon, Newcastle.

A woman in a smart suit with handbag gives a speech from the bowling green. Two older men are stand beside her.

General views of various bowls matches.

Title: Here’s Mr Wren with more Fun.

A man in a white panama hat stands next to a buggy surrounded by children. There is a view of a donkey.

Title: Not You, Mamma.

Mr Wren leads a buggy filled with children on a circular ride. Another buggy passes, also full of children driven by an older boy.

General views of other horse and donkey-driven buggies being led by older boys.

Small children are riding all the animals.

A man holds onto a small girl who is riding on the back of a donkey.

Title: N.F.S. Regional Pipe Band and P.T. Team.

The marching bagpipe band seen previously marches past crowds. They are followed by a group of young women in white tops with insignia and brown skirts.

A man in a kilt performs a sword dance for the crowds.

Title: Nautical Traditions.

General view of crowds of children stands around the lake in Saltwell Park.

A man helps a boy and girl climb into a rowing boat.

[Black and White]

Title: Shipcote Baths. Bathing Parade and Exhibition of Diving

Young women in bathing costumes parading around the edge of an indoor swimming pool. A man in old fashioned style women’s bathing costume and blonde wig also parades around the pool.

Filmed in slow-motion a number of men perform dives, which include somersaults and twists, from a high diving board at the pool.

There are three reverse motion shots of individual dives by men.

There is a slow motion shot of two men performing a back somersault dive, holding hands together. Their next dive is filmed at normal speed. A man performs various dives in the pool.


Title: And in Late Evening.

The final sequence shows dancing in Saltwell Park as the light begins to fade. Some American soldiers appear in the footage but there is a noticeable absence of men of fighting age.

Two small girls dance together trying to copy the adults.

Two young women in military uniforms dance a waltz together. They move close by the camera.

A sailor dances and whispers to a young woman in a military suit, whilst in the background a huge crowd of people, many women and young girls, are dancing. Several couples are also wearing military outfits.

Many women partner each other. A crowd is also gathered at the edge of the field, watching. The dance style changes, with many dancers still mainly women.

The dances become more casual and contemporary, with two women beginning to jive. In the background, groups are doing the conga and a line of young women and men in uniform perform a Tiller Girls routine.

General view of the musicians in a big band.

The film ends couples jiving and waltzing, some women partnering each other.

End Title: The End.