Film ID:
NEFA 13485



Visitor Tabs


This sponsored film for the Tyne Improvement Commission, produced by Turners Film Productions, documents the shipping, trading, engineering, shipbuilding and passenger services along the River Tyne. The film records the industries that cluster along the Tyne focusing on wood, petroleum, coal, fish and iron ore. The services provided to shipping by the Tyne Improvement Commission and other authorities are documented, together with the transport facilities and sites available for new industries in the area. The film includes footage of the construction and launch of the 'Northern Star,' built by Vickers Armstrong’s Naval Yard in Newcastle, and launched by H.M. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, on June 27 1961.

The film opens with an aerial view of the Tyne harbour, with the two breakwaters of Tynemouth and South Shields piers at the entrance of the river. We follow a ship as it heads up the Tyne and see the industry and commerce located on its banks.

The next sequence records the Tyne from source to mouth. It begins with scenic views of the moors of Northumberland. Shot of the spring source of the Tyne river, and various views along its route to the coast. A panoramic view of Newcastle Upon Tyne is shot from an elevated point at the edge of the city. Traffic crosses the High Level Bridge connecting Gateshead to Newcastle across the Tyne. Next, there is a view of the Swing Bridge in operation, together with the High Level Bridge. Road traffic crosses the Tyne Bridge.

The film switches to views of the Port of Tyne, the ship traffic on the river and the shipbuilding industry. A sequence shows the mouth of the Tyne towards the North Sea, Tynemouth sands and holidaymakers, with the town of Tynemouth and visible church spire on the far headland, and other coastline nearby, including shots of Marsden Rock.

A map indicates the sea routes served from Newcastle to Northern Europe and Scandinavia.

There are views across the Tyne towards ships docked at a quayside, followed by a view down the quayside of the Albert Edward Dock, where a line of cranes operate. An elevated view shows the Tyne Dock yards. Wood cargoes from Canada are unloaded at the dock. A forklift truck is moving the cargo. There are shots of Baltic sawn planks. More overhead shots of the docks and of workers guiding crane lifted wood into rail freight wagons follow. A crane operates at the docks. There are scenes of the unloading of cargo, which include a view into the hold of a ship with its wood cargo.

Across the river from the Tyne Dock is the Tyne Commission Quay, where all kinds of cargo is handled at the transit sheds of the Bergen Line and Olsen Line cargo and passenger shipping companies. Cargoes are moved on pallets. Next, there is a view upwards of the 'Leda' ship as boxed cargo is loaded by crane. There is a close-up of a tractor hoisted into the air.

A view down Corporation Quay shows imported zinc loads from Canada guided onto the quayside. There is a general view upwards towards a skyline of cranes and rigging. Large cylinders of wood cellulose are lifted onto the quayside.

A close-up of fish heads is followed by scenes on the fish quay and trade at North Shields Fish Market, where fish are lined up for sale. There are shots of buyers browsing the fish and of the auctioneer.

From the river we see the Titan II crane in use at the port.

There is a view of a foggy river and quayside, and then of the grain elevators, silo and flour mill of Spillers Tyne Mill at Spillers Wharf on the Quayside, Newcastle, towering over the river.

An aerial view shows the Shell Mex and BP oil depot, surrounding streets and river at Jarrow. The giant oil freight ship 'Hygromia' is moored at the quayside. Marine loading arms move the oil off the ship through pipes direct to the oil depot cylinders. Esso trucks and rail freight containers distribute the oil from the depot. There is a general view of the oil depot silos.

The next sequence documents the coal distribution operation as coal is unloaded at sites such as Whitehill Point Jetty (once staithes), North Shields, owned by Port of Tyne. The coal is delivered to warehouses via rail hoppers from the Tyne river. The containers move directly into a mechanised revolving machine that tips the coal into chutes that transport the coal directly into the holds of the waiting ships. Two men watch as the chute discharges the black coal in a stream into the hold.

An aerial view of the Shell Mex and BP oil terminals at Jarrow, one of the largest in the country at the time. A ship is docked at a special deep water quay where grabbing cranes are in operation. Close-ups show the crane grab collecting iron ore from the hold of the ship. There is a shot of the crane structure that indicates the huge size of the cranes, followed by general views of the line of cranes operating in the coal distribution. The cranes discharge their load into special hoppers where it is weighed automatically, and is loaded onto waiting trains. A train pulls off for the Consett iron works. Next, there is a shot of rolled steel in production. A series of close-ups show export destinations written on cargo containers.

The next sequence opens with a general view of the working docks and the ship building yards. Shipyard workers work on a new ship. People head towards the launch site for the Northern Star. A large crowd awaits the launch of the ocean liner. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, presses the button to release the champagne bottle at the naming ceremony and launch of the 'Northern Star.' The ship slides down the slipway into the Tyne. The crowd waves and cheers. A close-up of the Queen Mother smiling and waving follows.

An elevated view over dry docks and ship repair yards is followed by shots of men working on the repair of ships at the dry docks. There are shots of the British Ship Research station at Wallsend, and Vickers Armstrong’s 850 foot dry dock facility.

A tanker is manoeuvred into dock by a tugboat. A pipe is hoisted onto a tanker at docks at Jarrow, Tynemouth, for refuelling. 'The Norseman' diesel engine train transports iron ore to Consett.

A train leaves Kings Cross station in London and heads for Newcastle, taking passengers to the Port of Tyne docks. A cruise ship is moored at the docks. A train arrives at the Tyne Commission quay for the Bergen Line and sailings to Norway. Many passengers walk up the platform. A sign for Fred Olsen Lines can be seen on a bridging structure in the background. There are close-ups of the holiday luggage with many pairs of skis. Passengers walk up the quayside to the boarding gangway of the ship. A ship turns in the Tyne. A small group of people wave at the ship from the quayside.

A roll-on roll-off ferry service is under construction by the Tyne.

Members are gathered inside the boardroom of the Tyne Improvement Commission.

Services provided by the Commission include marine services such as patrols by the harbour master’s office, shown in this sequence. Footage includes a heroic shot of the harbour master in uniform on his boat, followed by shots of the River Tyne police on patrol on the Commissioner’s Dock estates. Other Port of Tyne services are shown, such as piloting, with cutters (boats) stationed at the entrance to the port. There are various views of dredgers, and of a vessel that deals with navigational buoys and with moorings. A man is fitted with an iron diving helmet and climbs into the water. Then there is a shot of a floating navigational aid released into the Tyne.

In the pitch black of night, the two winking lights of the Tyne lighthouses at the mouth of the river are recorded. The polished crystal glass lenses of the rotating light inside a lighthouse are shown in close-up.

There is a travelling shot crossing the River Tyne at Newcastle, with the city’s bridges in the background.

Green trucks are parked at the British Road Services depot prepared for the next day’s deliveries. An empty brownfield industrial site on Tyneside is ready for development and advertised for sale.

There is an exterior shot of the Marine College at South Shields. Inside the college, a group of students study seamanship with a room size mechanical model of a container ship.

The closing sequence records the busy Port of Tyne river traffic from the quaysides. A ship leaves the Tyne and heads out into the North Sea.

Produced for the Tyne Improvement Commission
By Turners Film Productions. Newcastle Upon Tyne. England.
Photography. Peter Smith (AIBP)
Editing. Peter Brown