Film ID:
NEFA 19289



Visitor Tabs


Sponsored film by Turners of Newcastle that documents the 1961 launch of the cargo ship Vasilios R, built by Austin & Pickersgill at their Southwick shipyard. Footage features many crowd and VIP guest shots.

Title: Launch of m.v. Vasilios R 15th May 1961

Title: Building for CIA de Navegacion Golfo Azul Panama

Title: By Austin and Pickersgill Limited Sunderland

Sponsor: Mrs Urania N. Rethymnis

Filmed by Turners Highspeed Newsreel Service. Newcastle upon Tyne

General view of an entrance to the Austin & Pickersgill Ltd. Southwick Shipyard, Sunderland, with company signs displayed on workshops.

The cargo ship Vasilios R sits at a building berth following construction, cranes beside the berth. Various shots record the huge ship in the berth as workers on the quay prepare for the launch. There is a low angle shot of the bow of the ship, and a ground level shot of the waterline with a view through to quayside buildings and tug boat on the River Wear.

Tug boats manoeuvre on the River Wear. The camera pans down from the top of the ship, with a Greek company name sign, to the waterline standard below the stern hull. Drag chains are piled beside the ship in berth. Keel blocks are placed under the ship to support the structure prior to launch. A shipyard worker paints the hull of the ship with oil, watched by another worker. There is a view beneath the ship towards the river, whilst two workers stand and chat in the foreground.

There is a brief shot of two men in bowler hats talking (possibly shipyard and ship company owners or bosses).

The camera pans from bow to base of the Vasilios R with the launch platform erected in front.

Guests begin to gather at the shipyard for the launch. A small group of men and women VIPs greet each other, the women in formal hats and men in raincoats. A group portrait of seven women posing with their handbags follows. Further small group shots of VIPs talking together follow. An elegantly dressed woman in a hat, long gloves and fur shawl smokes a cigarette while listening to a male guest. Small groups of guests mingle on the quay beside the ship. Two men stand together, one man in a raincoat with a camera slung over his shoulder. There are high angle views of the guests gathering at the shipyard beside the steps to the launch platform, a man in a bowler hat with a photographic camera briefly looks to camera.

A woman poses for a photograph holding a bouquet of flowers. There is a general shot of guests on the ground, the woman talking with another female guest in sunglasses, who holds the bouquet now. The guests climb the stairs to the launch platform. The sponsor, Mrs Urania N. Rethymnis, poses for photographers holding the bottle of champagne for the launch. A reverse shot captures the press photographers at the scene. Guests and photographers stand on the launch platform prior to the launch.

Mrs Urania N. Rethymnis smashes the champagne bottle against the prow of the ship. She then presses the button to launch the ship. Looking towards the River Wear, the ship glides down the slipway. There are post-launch alternating shots of the VIPs chatting and shipyard workers beside the slipway, including a general view of the slipway with shipyard workers watching the Vasilios R turning on the River Wear. An overhead shot shows the wide fitting-out dock at the shipyards. Tugboats guide the Vasilios R into dock. There are shots of men in white overalls and coats watching as cranes lift machinery onto the ship, the tugboats still with the ship. There is an overhead shot of the shipyards with cranes and the Vasilios R in dock in the background.

End credits: The End