Film ID: NEFA 8772 Video of NEFA 8772 Just Billingham No27 JUST BILLINGHAM NO. 27 1957 Visitor TabsDescription Billingham Film Unit cinemagazine edition featuring two short documentary items. The first is a visit to the Teesside Engineering Club at Hartburn to meet some of the “failed engine drivers” who turn their hands to model making, and model railways. In the second part of the film, a group of Billingham boys participate in outward bound activities on Commondale Moor in the autumn. [Titles over close-up of a vinyl record playing on a turntable.] Title: ICI Billingham Division Title: Presents Title: The Twenty-Seventh Edition Title: Just Billingham Four teenage boys (trainspotters) crane their necks towards the left at the sight of a fast-approaching train, then scribble furiously in notebooks. The young trainspotters ask a station master questions whilst taking notes in their pads. [The next titles play over this scene.] Title: Oh, Mister Porter. Title: Steam is on its way out but until it has gone, young hearts will thrill at the sound of the iron horse. A steam train pulls out of Darlington Station. The train driver smokes a cigarette. Boys gather on the platform with notebooks and crouch to see steam being blown out by the wheels. A shot of a steam train passing the camera at high speed fades into a view of a model train’s turning wheels. Commentary: “We do know that grown men turn their hands to model making when they haven’t been able to qualify as real engine drivers.” A series of close-ups of models and model makers follow as the scene moves to the Teesside Engineering Club at Hartburn. Models are electrically tested, painted, and assembled. There are various shots of model trains, the control panel being operated. “Oh Mister Porter” whistled in the background. A pack of Kensitas cigarettes is passed across a blueprint of a train as “a lot of very serious thinking is done about abstruse design problems”. [The following titles superimposed over a panorama of the North York Moors at Commondale, showing brown heather against dry stone walls and small farm buildings in the distance.] Title: Theirs is To-morrow Title: A Visit to the Moors of North Yorkshire Title: Where enthusiastic boys, stirred by the romantic stories of others back from ‘outward bound’, start their own miniature course under the supervision of the Education Department. Title: Here young boys learn to be tough men – and first things must come first. A long wooden shed can be seen, partly obscured by trees. “Why are we waiting” sung enthusiastically and loudly to the tune of Come All Ye Faithful. A series of shots depict boys performing manual labour tasks before hearing the dinner gong and walking away. First, a boy in a blue jumper called Bill, is digging a trench with a spade. A red haired boy, Jim, saws off the root of a tree. A boy in a black jacket drives a stake into the ground with a sledge hammer. The group jump successively into a stream bed. A man stirs a cooking pot on an open fire. A boy stirs a broth in a black cooking pot. Food is plated and served; the boys then wash their dishes in a stream. A man walks up a road with a dog. Views of Commondale Village, the pub, from Potter’s Side Lane, and the old brick yard. Rubble is present all around the old brick yard as the narration describes how the chimneys were pulled down. But, “with a bit of ingenuity everything can be put to good use”. The camping boys are then seen digging rubble for road-building with pick axes. Overhead views of the boys riding on a tractor trailer follow; the material is dumped, and the boys set to work shovelling the surface of the road. Boys perform all sorts of outward bound activities, preparing for competitions: lashing structures together, sliding down a zip-line, climbing ropes, vaulting. A man blows a whistle. Boys examine a map with a supervisor before setting off on an orienteering exercise. The boys arrive back exhausted after seven hours of exertion. One boy washes his face. Another boy brushes his hair. Another boy eats a pork pie. Camp fire singing and guitar playing follow. The next scene follows the boys as they practise a stretcher rescue of one of their team. A young boy is peeling a potato, and on hearing the approach of the older boys, runs to see. The boys chop wood. The guitarist continues to play up a tree. Landscape views over Commondale with final credit and title:- Credit: Produced by the Billingham Film Unit [over landscape view of the moors.] Credit: The End [over landscape view of the moors.] Context Model railway buffs on Teesside Boy’s own adventures and failed engine drivers mastering model railways feature in a glorious Kodachrome swansong for the Just Billingham cinemagazine. There’s so much more to ICI than chemicals as this beautifully constructed cinemagazine demonstrates. The last Just Billingham edition signs out with a snapshot of trainspotters at Darlington station and the “failed engine drivers” with a passion for crafting model railways. In a second feature, the Commondale moors are alight with a painterly autumn glow as Billingham boys “learn to be tough men” round the campfire and on outward bound adventures. The model-makers were filmed at the Teesside Society of Model & Experimental Engineers, based at the Elmwood Community Centre in Hartburn, Stockton on Tees, and founded in 1948, the area long a stronghold for engineering. ICI Billingham had one of the largest engineering workshops in the country, which harboured a few enthusiastic model railway hobbyists too. The first feature also includes a delightful homage to Stockton-on-Tees born comic actor Will Hay, who played a bumbling railway porter and station master in the classic 1937 British comedy Oh, Mr Porter.