Film ID: NEFA 14484 Video of NEFA 14484 Launch of the Athelsultan LAUNCH OF THE “ATHELSULTAN” BUILT TO THE ORDER OF ATHEL LINES LTD, LONDON BY SMITH DOCKS LTD, SOUTHBANK-ON-TEES 1950 Visitor TabsDescription Sponsored film by Turners Film Productions showing the launch of the"Athelsultan" at Smiths Dock Company, Southbank, Middlesbrough on the 9th November 1950, by Mrs F.H. Formby. Title: A Turner Production View of the "Athelsultan" on the slipway ready to be launched. In front of the ship is a viewing platform and an "Athel" flag hanging from bow of the ship. Bunting blows in the wind from the ship's cabling. Various warehouses and cranes are in the background, and a lorry drives into view. Title: Launch of the "Athelsultan" built to the order of Athel Lines Ltd, London by Smith Docks Ltd, Southbank-on-Tees". Another view of the ship. Various dignitaries get out of their cars and walk away from the camera. People walk up steps to the launch platform. Large crowds are watching the guests arriving. A woman, Mrs Formby, is presented with bouquet of flowers by a young man. Title: The Vessel is launched by Mrs F.H. Formby on the 9th November 1950. Mrs Formby and three others have their photographs taken beside the ship. Mrs Formby holds a bottle of champagne. Workmen knock out the keel blocks beneath the ship. The champagne bottle is smashed against the side of the ship, and Mrs Formby then presses a button which launches the ship. Views from multiple angles of the ship sliding into the River Tees. Crowds watch the launch. Mrs Formby and other guests leave the viewing platform. The ship is manoevered by tug boat on the River Tees. View of the empty berth. Indoors, the dignitaries enjoy some refreshments. The film ends with a view of the company sign "Smith's Dock Co. Ltd". Context Sugar and fur at a Smiths Dock ship launch Grandeur, excitement and pride for a Middlesbrough crowd at the Smiths Dock launch of a ship for the Sugar Line. The launch of the Athelsultan is the occasion for great celebration at the small Smiths Dock shipyard on the South Bank of the Tees in Middlesbrough. The camera lingers on the sea of faces, capturing the excitement of the crowds and workers, who push forward to admire the ship rather than the fur-clad guests of the Athel Line sponsors. The Athelsultan operated on the Sugar Line routes, a company created by Tate & Lyle, West Indies Sugar Company Ltd. and the United Molasses Company in 1951, of which the wealthy Athel Line was a subsidiary. Smith’s Dock Co. Ltd. opened their “family oriented” shipyard at South Bank in 1909 and formed a strong association with the whaling trade, amongst other clients, building whale-catchers for Christian Salvesen from 1912 until the 1950s. In the 50s and 60s sons still followed fathers onto the docks, and workers lived in communities close to the shipyard. No surprise that there was an emotional launch for the last ship, North Islands, in 1986.