Film ID:
NEFA 8793



Visitor Tabs


ICI Billingham Division Film Unit cine magazine short feature of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh's visit to the Billingham factory on Monday afternoon, 14th October 1963. Prince Philip tours the ICI Billingham works, including the Engineering School at the Education Department, and pays a visit to the Synthonia Club sports ground. The film includes music track and commentary.

Title: Royal Visit to Billingham

Title: H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh Visits Billingham Monday 14th October 1963

The film opens with general views of the Billingham works. A Union Jack flag flies from the roof of the Billingham Main Offices, "Billingham House".  People await the Duke.  Two policemen stand by, one speaking into a walkie talkie. At the office building, a group of women and children await the Duke's arrival, one of the boys holding a small Union Jack flag.

Four of the top management staff, including industrialist and ICI Chairman Paul Chambers, stand outside Billingham House, in uniforms decorated with medals.

The Duke arrives in the royal car in the late afternoon, escorted by Councillor Robert Duncan, and cheered by a small crowd. Mr Paul Chambers salutes.  He introduces Prince Philip to Walter Delaney, Billingham Division Chairman.

The group walk into the main hall of the Billingham office block where staff await presentations. The Duke shakes the hand of Kenneth Cooper, Division Joint Managing Director, and chats informally with ICI Billingham's top brass. Amongst them is the architect of the Billingham Main Offices building, George Forsyth.  A close-up follows of the Civic Trust Award certificate that he won for the office building design in 1963.

Overhead shot of the Duke chatting at the presentation, escorted by Councillor Robert Duncan, who wears his ceremonial chain. The main office staff line a long balcony overlooking the main hall reception, all young women in mid-length skirts watching the presentations.

The Duke continues to shake hands with staff chosen for presentation, including "Mrs Bunn, forewoman cleaner".

Walter Delaney walks the Duke to an architectural model of the ICI Billingham works site, pointing out the route of the royal visit to him. The two men discuss the site. The Duke signs the Visitors Book before leaving the building and waving to the crowd gathered outside.

The royal cavalcade moves off heading for the Education Department's Engineering School, Prince Philip waving from his car.  The crowd begin to disperse. 

The cars pull into the Billingham Division Education and Training Department grounds. A policeman listens to instructions on his walkie talkie, flanked by two ICI workers in white lab coats.  More ICI employees and their families are gathered outside the training centre.  Mr Chambers and Walter Delaney arrive ahead of the royal car. The Duke arrives and is clapped and cheered by the crowd. Mr Chambers escorts the Duke to the school entrance.  In the foyer, Prince Philip is introduced to directors, senior staff and members of the Education Department, instructors and apprentices.

The Duke visits the school workshops, escorted by Neville Pattison, Division Education Officer. Apprentices are working at various machines and tasks. He stops and talks to instructors.  He admires a Coat of Arms (E.R.) constructed by apprentices, which lights up and flashes. The Duke then leaves the Engineering School.

The royal party then head off to the new Pressure Steam Reforming Plant (using cheap naphtha).  General view of the Steam Reform Methanol Plant.

A man operates an extensive control panel at the plant. The royal party arrive outside and the Duke dons a hard hat for the tour.  More introductions take place with staff. He shares a joke with one employee.  He takes a tour of the Control Room.  The Duke is then escorted across the exterior catwalks to the "reformer".  He takes a look at the furnace inside at an inspection point.

The Duke embarks on a quick tour of the factory site including some of the older plant works. Employees wave at the royal party, the road dominated by the two binocular-shaped cooling towers at the plant.  The royal car drives past process offices where another crowd lines the route.  The cars pass along "Ammonia Avenue", "Nitrate Avenue" and various other roads, leaving the factory by the North Gate.

His last call is at the Synthonia Club sports stadium, where a large crowd are gathered to greet him. A red helicopter is parked on the sports field.  The Duke arrives and walks onto the sports track with Mr Wharton and a group of senior ICI employees. The duke waves his hat at the crowd. The stadium seat stands are packed with people.  Out on the sports field, the Duke is introduced to Synthonia Club officials in dark suits.

The Duke leaves at the controls of the red helicopter.  Sunset is falling as the helicopter flies off into the sky and over the stadium.

The film ends with general views of the ICI Billingham factory site.

End credits: Produced by Billingham Division Film Unit.  Assisted by ICI Film Unit, Alkali Division and Wilton.