Film ID: NEFA 13844 Video of 13844 Opening of the St Aloysius Infant School, Hebburn OPENING OF THE ST. ALOYSIUS INFANT SCHOOL, HEBBURN 1928 Visitor TabsDescription An early topical newsreel of the opening of St. Aloysius Infant School in Hebburn in June 1928. The film shows a procession of marching bands, banners and children down Argyle Street, traveling from St Aloysius Church to the new infant school. Joseph Thorman, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, and other priests follow behind in open top horse-drawn carriages. At the church Bishop Thorman blesses the new Catholic Sunday school building and gives a speech to the crowd. The film ends with group portraits of children. The film opens with a high angle shot of a brass band marching along Argyle Street in Hebburn watched by large crowds. Following behind, the church choir and candle bearer march in front of a banner that reads: "Pray Forgive Us". Behind the banner young boys and girls follow in groups. Some of the boys carry signs that read: ‘A Hearty Welcome Bishop’. All the girls are wearing white dresses. As the group of boys passes one of them stops, kneels downs and begins to tie his shoe laces. A woman who accompanies the procession pulls him out of the group and stands over him as he continues to tie his laces. A member of the St John's Ambulance comes over and picks up the boy. A policeman then approaches and ties the boys laces. With the laces tied, the boy is put down and he walks off hand-in-hand with the woman following the procession. The man from the St John's Ambulance and policeman follow on behind. A band of men playing piccolo march along Argyle St followed by a large number of men in flat caps. A second brass band in the procession is accompanied by a group of men in sashes. A large group of women carrying babies or small children follow on next. Two open-top horse drawn carriages travel past carrying four priests in each carriage. A third carriage passes containing three priests and Joseph Thorman, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle. A large crowd follows on behind. Next, Bishop Thorman walks past a wooden platform surrounded by a large crowd. General views of Bishop Thorman surrounded by a large crowd blessing the new Sunday school building. He opens the doors and goes inside followed by the other priests and two candle bearers. A large crowd surrounds the platform on which a large table and chairs have been laid out. Bishop Thorman is seated in one of the chairs beside a number of priests. One of the priests makes a speech to the crowd. As Bishop Thorman get up from his chair a number of men in the crowd wave their flat caps in the air. Portrait shot of Bishop Thorman as he speaks to the crowd. Group portraits of children follow. Many are wearing bandanas around their foreheads. Portrait shot of young boys, some wearing white ribbons in their breast pockets. Context A Catholic procession in Hebburn A vivid portrait of a tough working Tyneside community in Hebburn at the opening of a Roman Catholic infant school. The multitudes of faces are remarkably distinct in this unique local topical film of Hebburn at the brink of the Great Depression, home to many Irish Catholic migrant families who worked in the coal mines and shipyards. In July 1928 battalions of Catholic school children march down Prince Consort Road to the blessing of the new St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Infant School by the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle. One poor little chap who seems to have rickets has a mishap. This local ‘topical’ no doubt drew big audiences when screened at the Theatre Royal on Lyon Street, Hebburn. The theatre wrote to the St Aloysius priest, Father Witty, in July 1928 agreeing to future shows. An article in the annual trade publication Cinematograph Exhibition Diary of the same year promoted the ‘topical’ as “the biggest business ‘booster’” for cinema managers. “Tell them they will probably see themselves on the screen and you won’t be able to find seats enough to accommodate the crowd anxious to pay their admission money.” Hebburn’s Theatre Royal opened as The Grand in 1897. By August 1900 it was managed by Arthur Jefferson, father of the great movie comedian Stan Laurel.