Film ID:
NEFA 20656



Visitor Tabs


An impressionistic record from dawn till dusk of the sights and sounds of working life on the River Tees, made by three students at Teesside College of Art, Brian Bryne, David Eadington and Roger Schindler.  This film looks at the range of activity on the River Tees, including the work of the Tees Harbour Port Authority, dredging activities and oil platform manufacture.

Title: River Work [over views of River Tees.]

The film shows early morning on the river, with watery sunlight beginning to bathe the river and the industry surrounding it. A tracking shot shows ships moored at the quayside for loading or unloading. The soundtrack is of seagulls and industrial sounds.

An official at the Tees Harbour Port Authority uses a shore to ship phone to check the movements of ships on the river. A large tanker is pulled by Tees Towing Company tugs. The harbour master(?) speaks on the phone in his offices. Ships sail up the river including the 'Duke of Yorkshire'. Tugs and other ships come into view, including the 'Ilesha Palm'  Tugs seen on the river include the Fiery Cross, another of the Cross Line tugs. A dredger is in operation,

Norfolk Line lorries transport cargo from ships. Bell Line containers are unloaded, Datsun cars are driven from ship down a ramp onto the quay side. A tug travels down river. Potash or ore is unloaded from a ship. Cranes shift material on and around an oil platform which is undergoing construction. Shots of men doing various tasks on the platform, welding, hoisting equipment, giving instructions to others. Close-ups of men's faces as they concentrate on the task in hand. Some of the men are wearing Laing donkey jackets working on an oil platform. Various shots show the structure and scale of the platform being built.

A change of scene as we follow the work of a dredger on the river. The film shows the large scoops the dredger uses to scour the river bed. Close-ups follow of the dredger at work. The spoil from the dredger is loaded onto another vessel by chute. The vessel collects the spoil in its large hold.

Men working on the bridge of the vessel watch the proceedings and adjust controls.

The ship is now heading out to sea, with the hold full of spoil. A close-up of a hand on a lever, and we see the floor of the hold open up as the ship dumps the river spoil out at sea.

A brief shot shows ships just beyond the mouth of the river.

Dockside cranes unload minerals from a ship. The cargo might be iron ore. The hand of the crane driver can be seen as he operates a lever. Close-ups of minerals as they are loaded into the hold of a ship, creating huge clouds of red dust. The crane driver looks down on the operation from his cabin at the top of a gantry.

Another view shows another type of gantry crane moving Bell Line containers at a yard. Overhead shots taken from the crane drivers cabin show the rows of the distinctive purple containers. The crane driver lowers a container carefully onto an articulated lorry.

Another view from the drivers cabin shows the Bell Line containers in a ships hold. Views follow of a different type of crane. The jibs of the cranes form a pattern against the skyline. Another shot of a crane in action. A driver concentrates on unloading a large drum, possibly electrical cable or perhaps newsprint. This is followed by a shot of two workmen loading a large wooden container onto the hook of a crane using metal rope slings. More shots from the quayside follow of minerals being unloaded.

Brief shot of a Japanese transport ship the Tsurumi Maru Kobe (?). Datsun cars are being driven off the ship onto the quayside. Fully loaded Norfolk Line articulated trailers are taken off ship by special tractor units. A worker checks off the delivery of Datsun cars as they come down the ships ramp. A tractor unit pulls a Norfolk Line container from a ships hold. More Datsun cars being checked off. Alternate shots off Norfolk Line containers being unloaded and Datsun cars being checked off follows. Brief shots show the side of a ship being repainted.

A lift carries a worker up a structure, possibly a rig. The rig is branded 'Transworld Rig 58.' A long shot of the rig. Two cranes work in tandem to move a steel structure. Various shots follow of cranes, and of men walking across a temporary footbridge in a shipyard. Silhouettes of men climbing up ladders and working on structures follow. Other shots show welding and cable laying. Other workers are battered by high winds as they work on top of an oil rig or platform(?). Men position a large steel structure lowered by crane, which will be welded to a ships deck. Other men weld on board a tanker under construction.

The end of the working day approaches, and the film shows workmen walking down gantries and walkways to head home.

General views of the riverside with ships moored alongside the quay. The skyline shows numerous cranes now still and inactive. A welder and a few other workers continue to work, but the majority have now left their workplaces. A view into the setting sun, followed by an aerial shot taken over the Tees.

End Credits: [over aerial shots of the River Tees and the Transporter Bridge, Middlesbrough]

Teesside College of Art 1975


Tees & Hartlepool Port Authority

Wilson Walton Engineering Ltd

Swan Hunters Ship Building Ltd

British Steel Corporation

Cleveland Potash Ltd

Westminster Dredging Company

Laing Offshore

Norfolk Line

Bell Line