Film ID:
NEFA 21218



Visitor Tabs


This amateur travelogue records the landscape, architecture, interesting monuments and occasional character from the River Tyne to Northumberland, touring the North East coast from Tynemouth to Berwick on the Borders, and locations along the Tyne, Tweed and Coquet rivers. The film opens in Newcastle upon Tyne with a focus on the Geordie anthem "The Blaydon Races", and the coal and ship building industries, but then sets out to prove to Southerners and the BBC that the North is not all about heavy industries. Includes footage of Lord Armstrong's Cragside house near Rothbury, and George Snaith, a shepherd, farmer and founder member and president of the Border Stick Dressers’ Association. This film is a George Cummin and Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) production.

[black & white footage]

Title: Newcastle & District ACA Presents

Title: It’s Not All Coal

Title: Dedicated and addressed to the BBC and those benighted Southerners who think that Northumberland is in Scotland and / or Northern Ireland …

Title: Now you probably have some kind of picture of this Northern County – for instance, you’ve probably heard of our National Anthem –

The film opens with close-ups of a Blaydon Races musical score and of a man playing the piano. Portrait shot of a conductor, mouthing the words to the song. Shots of a choir singing and individual portrait shots of singers, with cutaways to the conductor and close-ups of the musical score, the words of the song “ganning a-lang the Scots-wood Road” appearing.

General views of the Scotswood Road in 1949.

Miners climb some stairs to a mine and queue to descend in the mine cage lift.

Title: Scotswood Road IS a long road. From it can be seen signs of our proverbial industry –

Winding pit head gear is silhouetted against the sky. A miner pulls tubs full of coal from the lift and the tubs move automatically along the tracks at the coal face.

Title: In spite of the Proverb this coal is coming to Newcastle – to add a little more to this –

The industrial landscape on Tyneside is recorded. Tall smoking chimneys smoking are recorded from a bridge, which carries an advertisement for Virol milk, and further general views follow of Titan cranes and ship yard workers. Portrait shots of a ship yard worker in a flat cap smoking a pipe are intercut with a ship launch on the Tyne at Swan Hunters.

Title: Is this what you imagine? It’s true enough – but less than one tenth of the whole picture. The country town, Alnwick, makes a good entrance to this other Northumberland –

[colour footage, filmed between 1950-1951]

General view of Alnwick’s medieval gateway, the Bondgate Tower (also known as Hotspur Tower) on Bondgate Within, on which a banner advertising the Northumberland Country Show at Hulne Park is draped. General views of Alnwick including the Market Cross, an arched walkway, a winged statue on column (?) with detail pictured. Scott ironmongers features in a view of Bondgate, and three of the film-maker’s colleagues walk down Narrowgate. Shot of a church in Alnwick (?) with a walled flower garden. Various shots of Alnwick Castle include details of the statues and a sculpture that grace the walls.

Title: Hotspur’s great castle is only one of some thirty ancient strongholds, several of them in this district.

People row on the river outside Chillingham Castle. Chillingham cattle graze in the enclosed grounds of the castle.

Title: Of these, Chillingham Castle, still in use, is perhaps more famous for its wide park.

General views of the exterior of Chillingham Castle and the landscape outside.

Title: - in which roam the only wild cattle left in Britain – shy retiring creatures, but the keeper can usually point them out –

Two men survey the Chillingham cattle, one using binoculars.

Title: Pure bred for over 700 years the strongest bull is king and father of the herd – a fight to the death deciding which is the strongest –

General views of the cattle in the castle grounds.

Title: The keeper also pointed out suitable trees for climbing – just in case but the king only wanted us to get a good picture of him –

General views of the cattle and a man using binoculars.

Title: Northwest from the park, the Cheviot Hills are in view, complete with rapidly approaching clouds –

General view of the Cheviot Hills and a man using binoculars.

Title: - and from among the prehistoric remains on the top of an outlying hill – Yeavering Bell – there are extensive views as far as the sea and into Scotland –

General views of the landscape from Yeavering Bell.

Title: The Border follows the hilltops and then the Tweed to Berwick – past scenes like these –

A farmer and two sheep dogs herd up a flock of sheep. Shots of the Flodden monument, a thatched cottage and river. General view of Berwick’s Royal Border Bridge and panoramic view of the three Berwick bridges across the River Tweed. General views of the town, view towards sea, the town again, and a shot of the Berwick stocks. General view of the old sandstone Berwick Bridge.

Title: Berwick marks the North Eastern tip of the county – so we turn South down the coast –

Brief traveling shot from train looking towards Northumbrian coastline.

An old illustrated London and North East Railways map pictures the countryside and coastline from Lindisfarne to Bamburgh Castle. General views of Bamburgh Castle, shots of Grace Darling’s tomb in St Aidan’s Church at Bamburgh including detail of the tomb. The illustrated map describes Grace Darling’s heroic act. General view of the sea and distant Farne Islands, with close-ups of the birds nesting on the Farne Island’s cliffs, a bird sanctuary.

A small crowd watch fisherman at Seahouses who have landed their catch on the quay side. Close-up of a live crab. A fisherman guts fish on the wharf. A car drives through a stone arch on the road to Craster, where the sea laps gently onto the beach.

A sign reads: “Ancient Monument - Dunstanburgh Castle. HM Office of Works.” General view of Dunstanburgh Castle.

A detail of the illustrated map shows Alnmouth. General view of Alnmouth on the coastline in the distance. Traveling shot of Alnmouth town and of the bay. Shot of the County Borough of Tynemouth road sign. General view of a very crowded beach at Tynemouth. On the beach children ride past on donkeys and play on the Victorian style swings. High angle shots follow of the Tynemouth open-air swimming pool, busy with holiday makers, and the beach at Tynemouth. Shots of the Monument for Admiral Lord Colliseum. General view of the Tynemouth North pier and lighthouse at the mouth of the River Tyne.

Title: Leaving the admiral to keep an eye on the Tyne’s mouth we go right across the country – to its source near Kielder, planned to be the country’s largest forestry area –

A woman walks into a field on a hillside: in the foreground a sign points in one direction to Scotland, and in the opposite direction to England. Shot of the white painted houses in Kielder Village. A Forestry Commission sign warns about starting fires.

Title: … and in the warm evening light we follow the North Tyne down through places that have known many a Border fray –

A man looks over the old stone Bellingham Bridge. General views follow of the North Tyne River, Bellingham in the distance as seen from an iron foot bridge, the town of Bellingham and the Rose and Crown inn on West View, a church with a bell tower, a market square clock, an old stone water fountain and a village across a pond.

A man in a small rowing boat sets up a net right across the North Tyne river. Two men fish in the shallows of the stony river.

General view of the Chollerford bridge across the Tyne, The George coaching inn, and the confluence of the North and South Tyne.

Title: Just below here the North and South Tynes unite and it is the Tyne proper that passes Wilfred’s historic Abbey at Hexham.

General views of Hexham Abbey, the town centre and the gatehouse on the east side of the market place.

Title: Many of these old stones came from Corbridge, some three miles downstream –

General view of the main road at Corbridge and St Andrews Church.

Title: - or rather from Roman Corstopitum – just outside Corbridge

An archaeological dig is under way at Corbridge Roman town (near part of Hadrian's Wall), with men and women from Kings College digging carefully with trowels.

Title: Unlike us the Romans had money but no pockets – hence this Gent’s Arm Purse

One of the archaeologists holds a Roman arm purse, and demonstrates how it is worn as a bracelet. Then he holds out a metal jug.

Close-up stone carved panel with Latin lettering. One of the female archaeologists is digging in a deep hole.

Title: Northumberland has many Roman remains of all kinds including the only Roman milestone still in place –

General views of a milestone on the Stanegate near Corbridge, Vindolanda, and an unexcavated Roman site with various ruins shown including a granary floor stones, which may be at Housesteads. (?)

Title: But the Wall, of course, is our most famous relic -

General views of Hadrian’s Wall and nearby lakes (?). Close-up of a National Trust sign that reads: “The National Trust Preserves 3½ miles of the Roman wall for your pleasure and interest. Take heed not to disturb even one stone –"

Title: Another region of walls and water lies north of Otterburn, of Ballad fame –

General view of moorland scenery. Travelling shot along a moorland road. General view of Otterburn Mill and one of the main roads near Otterburn. General view of Catcleugh Reservoir in the Northumberland national park. Cyclists walk their bikes up a steep hill.

There are shots of drystone walls, and a farmer rebuilding part of a drystone wall, probably George Snaith.

Title: It looks easy enough – but building these drystone walls without mortar of any kind is a craftsman’s job –

Further shots follow of the man rebuilding and checking a drystone wall.

Title: Similar walls protect the horses that are Farmer Snaith’s pride and joy

George Snaith, a farmer and shepherd, walks his Suffolk Punch horses through a field and onto his farm, near Otterburn, checking the hoof of one of the horses. He speaks to the cameraman during filming.

Title: Though no detective Farmer Snaith is an expert on crooks –

As a famed Border stick dresser, George Snaith displays his carved shepherd crooks and walking sticks to the camera, all highly decorated, some carved with animals and fish.

Title: He is carving his own art gallery of everything connected with a river –

Close-ups follow of the carved handles of the crooks.

Title: Such a river perhaps as the Coquet, which rises in the hills high above his farm –

General views of the Coquet valley landscape and the River Coquet. General view of Harbottle and of the stone cross that sits in the middle of the pool at Lady’s Well (or St Ninian's Well) near the village of Holystone, and shots of the 15th century statue, said to be of Bishop Paulinus. General view of the stone remains of Holystone Priory.

General views follow of a valley and a bridge, Rothbury Post Office and village. Brief shot of two boys with sticks laying on an old tree trunk suspended over the River Coquet.

Title: Just below Rothbury Cragside’s architecture strikes a somewhat exotic note but its gardens are more orthodox – and much visited –

General view of the exterior of the country house of Lord Armstrong, Cragside, with rhododendron bushes in the gardens out front. Tourists are walking around the gardens on a sunny day. A boy with a teddy bear is amongst the rhododendrons in bloom. General view of a fast flowing river, and a boy paddling in the calmer river water downstream.

General views of a stone arched bridge, the Smelters Arms in the background, a river and bridges.

A sign reads ‘Warkworth Castle’. People are rowing on the River Coquet, the castle in the background. Overhead shots from Warkworth Castle and from a bridge.

General view of the bay at the mouth of the River Coquet.

Title: And as Coquet reaches its end in the North Sea we, too, have reached the end of our brief survey. We have been able to show only a fraction of the beauty and history that is Northumberland – but we hope that you remember such scenes as these –

The final sequence of the film is a montage of some of the previous shots, which feature moorland, a church and walled garden graveyard in Alnwick (?), Berwick Bridge, the farmer and shepherd George Snaith and his decorated crooks, Catcleugh Reservoir, a castle, the stone cross at Ladys Well, a Berwick gateway, salmon fishermen, and a castle as the light begins to fade. A general view of a sunset closes the film.

Title: You will agree that –

Title: It’s Not All Coal (over an illustrated map of the North East).

Title: The End