Film ID:
NEFA 19738



Visitor Tabs


Sponsored film produced by Turners Film Productions for Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Limited of the launch of the cargo ship M.S. Zira from their South Shields yard on the 1st February 1972. The film shows the arrival of guests including Sir John Hunter and the sponsor Mrs. A.  Mackinnon. From the launching platform guests watch as Mrs Mackinnon smashes a bottle of Champagne on the bow of the Zira which then slips into the River Tyne. The film ends with guests leaving the yard.

Title: Launch of m.s. Zira 1st February 1972

Title: Sponsor Mrs. A.  Mackinnon

Title: Owners P&O Steam Navigation Co. Ltd

Title: Builders Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Limited

The film opens with a general view showing the M.S. Zira on the slipway at South Shields with a launching ceremony platform built just in front of it. Flags on poles blow in the wind.

General views follow looking up at the bow of the Zira with a walkway built alongside it. Figures on board the ship look down. The film cuts to another view taking in the full length of the ship.

Underneath a shelter a conductor leads a brass band, with views of the tuba players.

General views show well-dressed dignitaries walking along a path through the shipyard, past the brass band and up a set of steps onto the launching platform. One man in a bowler hat smiles and mouths ‘good morning’ to the camera person.

Sir John Hunter escorts Mrs Mackinnon along the path. As they approach the camera a young man presents her with a bouquet. They shake hands before moving on up the steps onto the platform.

On the platform a number of photographers take photos of the event. John Hunter and Mrs Mackinnon chat while a small crowd stand on the platform behind them. Mrs Mackinnon makes a speech into a  microphone. She pulls a lever releasing a bottle of Champagne which smashes into the bow of the ship. After a brief pause the ship begins to slowly move down the slipway.

General views show the Zira slowly moving down the slipway picking up speed and entering the River Tyne. As the bow hits the water the whole ship bobs. The camera quickly pans left to show John Hunter, Mrs Mackinnon and the other guests on the launching platform watching proceedings. Back on the Tyne the Zira slowly turns.

General views show the guests on the launching platform. John Hunter follows Mrs Mackinnon coming down the steps from the platform. General views show guests as they come down the steps then walking away from the platform.

The film cuts to show a ‘Wm B. Kerr’ coach driving past the Works Surgery and out of the yard. Two people sitting at the front of the bus wave at the camera. The film cuts back to the empty viewing platform and a view looking down the slipway showing the Zira in the distance on the Tyne. From a snowy quayside a view of the Zira on the Tyne being manoeuvred by tug boats.

End credit: Filmed by Turners Film Productions Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Title: The end