Film ID:
NEFA 21326



Visitor Tabs


This amateur record of celebrations marking 900 years since the founding of Newcastle upon Tyne was produced by members of the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA). The Newcastle 900 events took place between April and December, 1980. This film includes general views of the city, the official opening by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, footage of a children’s festival on the Town Moor, a parade, the opening of the first phase of the Tyne & Wear Metro, and a water pageant on the Tyne that took place on 26th July.

Title: Newcastle ACA Presents [ all credits with Newcastle 900 logo]

Title: Newcastle 900

Credit: Camera

Joe Clark

Mike Gough

Rod Leyland

Jim Mundy

James Madden

Dave Thompson

Jim Wheaton

Stephen Wheaton

Dave Watson

Credit: Sound

Ray Alexander

Bill Braban

Tom Ball

Reg Hall

Norman Mason

Paula Ross

Harry Brown

David Watson

Credit: Directed by Tom Ross

The film opens with night shots of a magnificent firework display in Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne, for Guy Fawkes Night.

The first sequence chronicles the architectural heritage of Newcastle upon Tyne with views of Newcastle Civic Centre on Barras Bridge; MEA House on Ellison Place, designed by Ryder and Yates; the Tyne Bridge and Swing Bridge; the Castle Keep and Black Gate; the Blackfriars monastery (possibly); the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas; the Castle Stairs down to Sandhill; Bessie Surtees House; dilapidated buildings on the Quayside; Grey's Monument and streets in Grainger Town including Central Arcade on Grainger Street and the Theatre Royal on Grey Street. Banners for ‘Newcastle 900’ celebrations are on the street. An advertising banner for the celebration near the Civic Centre reads ‘Make Friends with Newcastle – Newcastle 900’.

Huge crowds await the arrival of the royal car, which makes its way to Eldon Square for the official opening ceremony of the Newcastle 900 celebrations on 16th April 1980. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother gets out of the car and greets local dignitaries including the Mayor in red ermine and fur. A band plays in Old Eldon Square. The crowd and Queen Mother listen to another band at the event. General views of the crowd follow, a front row of older women standing at a barrier looking delighted to see the Queen Mother. Some of the people in the crowd take photos as the Queen Mother walks by with the Mayor.

A children’s festival takes place on the Town Moor as part of the Newcastle 900 celebrations A group of people in giant furry animal costumes greet children in the crowd at the event. People wander around a fake castle set where children are trying out a ‘medieval’ adventure playground. One girl has a go on a zip wire. Two showgirls ride a white horse in front of the marquees housing a circus. Clowns drive round in a circus car at the Town Moor grass arena. People are trying out canoeing and rowing on a boating lake, probably at Exhibition Park. People buy special Newcastle 900 rock at a stall. Exhibits include a mushroom house and a giant blow-up cartoon dog. Children play with balloons at the park. A barrage balloon advertises Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pepsi Cola. Children watch as parachutists with multi-coloured parachutes begin to land at the festival ground. Motorcycle stunts follow, riders leaping through fire. A young girl wanders past with candyfloss. People slide down a helter-skelter. Young sea cadets give an energetic demonstration of the assembly of a cannon, then lie down on the ground covering their ears as it is fired twice. People mill around a marquee advertising ‘DER Great Balloon Race’. A father and son watch the release of hundreds of coloured balloons into the sky.

The next sequence documents a parade that took part through the city of Newcastle as part of the Newcastle 900 celebrations. At Newcastle Civic Centre, the Mayor’s ceremonial 19th century horse-drawn carriage leaves to take part in the parade. A band of military drummers and a Royal Navy unit march from Haymarket (?). Various shots document the parade and the many decorated floats, which include young gymnasts and women exercising with hoops celebrating ‘Keep Fit 1900 – 2000’, women in purple and white costumes carrying balloons on sticks parading with an open-top bus proclaiming ‘100 years of Public Transport’, a trade float for Rumbelows, the Havelock Community Centre float and an old ‘Rothman’s of Pall Mall’ horse-drawn delivery cart. A military brass band precedes the Lord Mayor’s ceremonial coach.

The entertainment in central Newcastle during the celebrations includes children performing musical numbers and folk dance performed by Hawthorn Primary School, the acting out of the history and traditions of Newcastle, including a boy proclaiming as a town crier. Two men perform a comic sketch in policeman and rogue costumes of the 19th century(?).

The STA schooner ‘Sir Winston Churchill’ and a Viking Longship specially built in Shetland sail from the North Sea to the Tyne for the Newcastle 900 Water Pageant, which took place on 26th July 1980. Close-up of oarsmen in Viking costume rowing.

A powerboat regatta takes place with boats speeding up and down the Tyne. A multitude of different boats including yachts, Foy boats and leisure craft are moored along the Tyne, the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides busy with spectators. A group of men in old fashioned sailors’ outfits who will later man the replica of the nineteenth century Lord Mayor’s barge are strolling down the Newcastle Quayside. The Swing Bridge opens for the start of the spectacular water pageant. People lounge on a grassy bank on the Tyne watching. Many different craft take part. These include the Tyne ash carrier, Bessie Surtees, fishing vessels old and modern, the Northumbrian Water boat with a banner that reads ‘Cleaning up the Tyne’, tugs, pilot boat, the Shieldsman ferry, police cutter, customs cutter, RNLI, firemen’s boat with a hose in operation, and the Ocean Bound yacht. The replica Lord Mayor’s barge sails by the Joseph Rank Baltic Flour Mills and up the Tyne, followed by the Shetland Longship and the Danish Longship. A formal address takes place, a woman in a red blazer speaking.

The next sequence records the first official day for passengers using the Tyne and Wear Metro system on 11th August. The Metro train leaves a platform and breaks through the ’Official Opening’ ribbon. Travelling shot from the train.

A night-time shot follows of an illuminated Palace of the Arts building in Exhibition Park hung with a Newcastle 900 banner. On Bonfire Night, people watch a spectacular firework display in Exhibition Park. Shots of the fireworks end this film.

Title: The End