Film ID:
NEFA 18605



Visitor Tabs


A compilation of amateur films by Mr. Kenneth Osbourne-Grant that record a parade of juvenile jazz bands along Alexandra Road in Ashington, launch of the Newbiggin Lifeboat, and a Whitley Bay beauty contest and the Blackpool Illuminations.

Scores of children in military-inspired bell hop outfits make up the Ashington Melody Makers Juvenile Jazz Band march along Alexandra Road past Castle Terrace.

R.A.F.A Ashington 1959 Carnival Parade

A man in drag, a white tutu and bra combination, wearing a red plastic nose, waddles amongst the spectators with a collection tin. A baby drops a coin into the collection tin and the man grins.

A men’s brass band marches along the street, followed by a truck re-purposed as a parade float. The truck is covered with posters, and is labelled with an “Ashington Accident Prevention Service” sign at the front. It carries a living diorama of a traffic warden holding a STOP sign and a Belisha beacon in front of a young cyclist.

A second truck approaches with a sign fixed to its front:-
Poster competition

Two women, one standing wearing a sash with the letters “UEST” visible, one seated, are driven past on a float with their backs to the camera.

A man in a cowboy costume on a bicycle tows a young child with a trailer kitted out to look like a Western horse-drawn wagon. The child wears a lacy costume and bonnet. As they pass along the parade a “Guinness for Strength” poster of a man holding a whale can be seen fixed to the end of a terrace.

As the “Slyway Patrol” police spoof float passes, the two officers and one robber inside draw guns. A young boy in shorts helps push their car. The Ashington Gay Geordies Jazz Band march by with military precision. The Newbiggin Sea Shanters march past. A float of cadets and a man in a fencing outfit follow the procession, their float marked “Venture Adventure”.

An H. Anderson Fruit and Vegetable Wholesalers truck is re-purposed as a parade float and is ridden by a harem of young girls surrounded by flowers. Another youth group, the West Boldon and Hyldon Castle Guards, march along in red uniforms. Immediately behind them, a man in blackface costume carries a basket on his head. A woman dressed as a queen marches past. A group of girls in colourful outfits ride the next float. Two smiling young women clutching trophies are chauffeured in an open-top convertible car. A man dressed as a toilet joins in the festivities.

Boldon Colliery Melody Makers Juvenile Jazz Band is next in the parade. Two women in Morris costume precede a green Newbiggin milk float, which carries a flower garlanded picture advertisement for milk on its roof. Inside, three girls are dressed as princesses.

The Boldon Hedworth Juvenile Jazz Band are next to march. A giant diorama of Noah’s Ark is fixed to the back of a flat-bed lorry. Another band marches with a banner reading, “Blyth Legionnaires – Their Yesterday Our Today”. The children of the band halt and march on the spot enthusiastically.

A man smoking a cigarette buys an ice cream from a van. The van is marked “Aerated Waters”. There is an advert for Cadbury’s Milk Flake in the window. The two trophy-clutching young women are seen again and drive by closer to the camera this time, beaming smiles. The two police officers (one of whom is trouser-less) and robber from the Slyway Patrol float stage a heist around their car. A Northumberland Division Civil Defence Corps lorry is parked behind them.

The girls from the harem smile for the camera, one of the girls pretends to smoke a cigarette. Another of them wears a blackface costume.

Title: The End


Title: also- POP’S ancient & modern

Title: consult- DANCE’S Of Woodhorn Rd. ASHINGTON

Four men talk in front of some notice boards. The top of one of the notices reads, “WALLAW”.

A large RNLI flag hangs above a long row of cloth-covered tables, laden with bottles, possibly at a bring-and-buy or jumble sale. Shoppers crowd the tables. There is a Bertorelli sign on the shop front behind; the scene is likely filmed on Bridge Street, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

Street scene at the corner of Front Street and Bridge Street, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Bunting hangs across the street. Chairs are set out for an audience. A brass band marches past the Post Office, halts, and plays; there are two women in the band. A group of officials, one of whom is possibly the mayor, stand on a temporary platform built on the back of a lorry. The platform is adorned with RNLI flags.

Speeches are made.

Down on the beach the Newbiggin Lifeboat, the Richard Ashley, is launched. It is hauled out to sea by caterpillar-tracked tractor. Excited children escort the boat to the sea. As the boat floats away, the shot focuses on a woman who is filming with an 8mm camera and then pans around to show the houses along the beachfront.

As the tractor driver engages the engine to drive back to the lifeboat shed, St Bartholomew’s Church spire can be seen in the background.

Title: The End

Title (finger-drawn in the sand): Happy Days

A Whitley Bay street scene, shot from the Promenade and Park Avenue junction looking South. Shots of the local bingo establishments. Girls shuffle and dance for the camera outside an ice cream shop and a Maynards. Beach scenes follow.

A crowd is gathered on the grassy bank watching a beauty contest sponsored by Sunday Pictorial, which took place on Sunday 2nd August 1959.  A large blue hoarding announces, “YOU MAY BE THE NEXT MARILYN OF WHITLEY BAY”. Below it, a series of life-size cut-outs of the enhanced feminine form are standing, and an announcer invites women to see if they can slot themselves through the cut-outs. Women arrive in pairs on the stage ready for the challenge, wearing colourful swimming costumes and high-heeled shoes. Various crowd shots alternate with shots of the contest. In one of them a man operates a 16mm camera.

The next scene is at a fairground. The Hoadley TV Joyland merry-go-round is featured, and the Big Dipper roller coaster can be seen in the background. Close-up of a carousel horse. Ghost train.

Three yachts tack in the wind just off the Blyth Harbour Lighthouse.

Young men and women play catch in a park, while picnicers sit around. A woman reads the Daily Mirror, the headline “Intruder among VIPs as Queen Ret[...]”. Another woman, wearing a sleeveless green dress, looks through a pair of binoculars.

Beach scenes again: an older woman and a young boy run hand-in-hand to the sea where a young girl in a red swimming costume plays in the waves. A man in shorts and braces drags a spade around a sandcastle under construction. Children are dried with towels as adults picnic. There are shots of beach football. Two women chat and knit.

Title: The Illuminations Nightly to 21st Oct.

[Presumably scenes of the Blackpool Illuminations]. A brightly lit windmill turns. A sun flares. Various spinning geometric shapes pass by.