Film ID:
NEFA 8754



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ICI Billingham Film Unit cine-magazine consisting of three short items about the social life of ICI workers. Off to Wembley: a group of young gymnasts prepare for a national celebration of athleticism and dance, the Festival of Youth at Wembley Stadium. Gala Day: crowds brave rough weather to support the Synthonia Club’s athletes at Billingham's Sports and Gala Day. The Beer Shortage: post-war rationing tightens its grip on the draught pump.

Number 4
July 1946

Title: Off to Wembley

Three topless men perform gymnastics in front of the camera. They somersault towards the camera, leap over one another, and sit on top of each other’s shoulders. There are portrait shots of them beaming smiles. The commentary jokes: "The boys are looking forward to their trip with great gusto".

Four girls sit talking on the grass before they are individually introduced to the camera while performing a gymnastic stance: Alma Durkin, Eileen Burke, Mary Wanloss, and Hillary Cluston, who will take part in "mass national dances and other rhythmic movements and exercises, which will be performed in costumes made by the girls themselves" at the Festival of Youth at Wembley Stadium. The four women dance on a grass lawn outside the Billingham Synthonia Club.

The men arrive at Stockton railway station. A large Brylcreem poster can be seen in the background. The four women arrive at Billingham railway station. They all depart on a GNER train and hang out of the windows, waving.

Gala Day
Synthonia Sport Competitors Defy the Weather.

A tree shakes in the wind. A small crowd of people struggle against the wind. A man attaches a flower to his button hole. Drafts is played on a large board. A boy sits under an umbrella.

Next, there are men and women’s sprinting events and cycling, with a focus on a fallen competitor. There is a close-up of rope being coiled for the tug of war, then the event itself. Shots of crowd applause and smiling event winners. A member of the crowd wears a raincoat. Mrs Warton, wife of the factory’s Labour Manager, hands out the prizes.

Women scissor-kick over the bar for the high jump event. Then the film is shown in reverse. The commentary states: "To these girls nothing is impossible".

Title: The Beer Shortage

A Union Jack flag flies in the wind at the Billingham Synthonia Club. Various shots record the building from different angles.

Working men buy frothy beer at the bar. Men sit at round tables drinking, smoking, and smiling.

Barrels of beer are seen in the back of a Bass lorry. Close-up of the bar's opening hours blackboard. A man rearranges the chairs in an empty bar. Men unload beer barrels from a lorry and lower them into a cellar by rope.

An animated diagram of beer supplies shows the impact of a 15% cut on the regular 200 barrels per month delivery.

Women in aprons open the bar curtain from the inside. Throngs of thirsty men appear on the other side. Numerous shots of beer banking and purchase: pints are prepared in advance of orders by being set on trays, half-filled with beer from the draught pump, and then topped up by jug. This is succeeded by shots of beer barrels in the cellar with “empty” chalked on them.

The film ends with a shot of the interior of the empty Synthonia Club bar.