Film ID:
NEFA 21221



Visitor Tabs


This amateur film with humorous commentary documents the first all night car trials for the St Andrew's Trophy that took place on Saturday 26th June 1954. A number of cars and motor cycles take part, including vintage British marques such as Singer, Standard, Jaguar, MG, Vauxhall and British Fords. All drivers test themselves against the clock through the countryside of Northumberland, Cumbria and the Scottish Borders. This film was commissioned by St Andrew's Motors (SAM) of Newcastle and produced by George Cummin with members of Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA).

Title: Conway Films in association with St Andrew's Motors Presents

Title: SAM's Night Out

Title: Photographed by Ted Davies and Don Nichols with the assistance of A.E. Nichols and P.E. Beaton

Title: Their joint efforts assembled, Sam's comments added and the whole thing produced by George Cummin

Title: Sam requests the pleasure of your company at the first all night trial for the St Andrews Trophy. Starting from Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne at 10.30pm on Saturday 26th June 1954. Stretchers at 10.30am Sunday (Don't RSVP - Just Come)

The opening shot shows the premises of St Andrews Motors in Gallowgate. The commentator introduces himself as Sam.

Bob Horne puts a notice in the window of the St Andrew's Motors showroom, which reads 'Control'. This is the start and finish for the overnight time trial. A brief shot follows of a man handing out numbers at a desk for competitors to attach to their vehicles. Outside in the street, a parked Ford Prefect has the notice 'scrutineer' attached to its windscreen. Nearby, a number of men study a clipboard. Some race officials leave the showroom and climb into a Standard Vanguard. A shot follows of a typed route card that competitors will have to follow overnight. Twenty two check points, some manned, some not, will need to be negotiated to complete the course. The ones that aren't manned will have a 'secret check' in the form of a question asked of the competitors, who have to supply the correct answer on a separate question/answer card. This is to prove they have completed the route correctly. The other checkpoints will require practical tests of driver speed and skill.]

The officials are now speeding west on country roads from Newcastle in their Standard Vanguard. The first checkpoint is at Newbrough, Northumberland. In the village, the landlord of the Red Lion waves to them as they drive past.

A shot follows of a misty Talla reservoir, which is the furthest point of the route the rally will take.

Back in Newcastle, the competition proper is about to start. Next to the 'scrutineers' car, Harry Huntley studies his complete list of entrants. A chrome grill on the front of one of the competitor’s cars [Reg. no. FJR 328], shows an impressive display of car club badges along with the latest addition, the competition nameplate and number. A Volkswagen Beetle has its competition plate attached by the owner. Inside the showroom, men sit at a table handing out numbers and a watch. The film shows the watches being synchronised with the official clock and then sealed with wire in special containers.

The front of a competitor's car shows the number 14 with 'St Andrews Night Trial' written below. The car, a Ford Popular [Reg. no. TBB 1] belongs to Gordon Chanley, a competitor in international trials. An interior shot of his vehicle shows his own time keeping equipment attached to the dashboard.

George Percival collects his number and test instructions, and motorcyclist Bill Fieldhouse collects his route card. Brian Horden and his pillion passenger use headphones and microphones to aid clear communication whilst on the move. The driver of car number 15, a Citroen, drives his vehicle down the street. Motorcyclist Geoff Maber, in a leather helmet signs in for the start. He is a solo competitor riding a 197cc Francis-Barnett machine, the lowest powered motorbike in the field of entrants. He switches on his headlight and rides off. A group of well-wishers standing next to a Ford Zodiac [?] watch the motorcycles set off in order of engine capacity. Peter Brewis drives his MG up to the start, as does Doc Goodhead in his Vauxhall. Gordon Chanley's Ford Popular is ready at the start and he waits for his navigator. Len Thomas sweeps past in his Citroen. Mr Wheeler in his Sunbeam is waved off from the start. Dr Hudson drives off in his Volkswagen Beetle, a car which generates a lot of interest from spectators and fellow competitors.

A small sports car called a Dellow, driven by PG Walton, has, according to the commentary, a good chance of winning the event. Ian Armstrong in a Sunbeam Talbot convertible drives off on his attempt to win the event. Three passengers accompany Tom Urban [?] in his two-toned Ford Zodiac, including a newspaper reporter. Next off from the start is George Percival's Mercedes, sporting a damaged wing.

The 5 bikes and 17 cars head westwards on the first leg of the 263-and-a-half-mile trip. A travelling shot from one of the cars shows progress along an unlit road, completely dark except for the penetrating beams of the car's headlights. The first 25 miles is west from Newcastle to Newbrough. More travelling shots follow of headlights following the road and of other competitors with car lights blazing.

At Chesterholme, the site of the first checkpoint where practical skill is tested, pools of rain reflect car headlights. Officials sign off the cars at the checkpoint. They then wait their turn to take their test. Frank Potts hurries to his Morris Minor to start his test. One of the motorbikes joins the queue. All the competitors complete the test then make their way to the Carlisle road to head further west.

A small torch shines through from the back of a map held up in front of the camera. The torch light makes an effective way of highlighting the route on camera.

At Newcastleton in Scotland, the checkpoint officials are George Robinson and Harry Robson. They wait patiently for the competitors to arrive and afterwards will go to Langham. Travelling shots show headlights along the road. A navigator fills in the secret test card. A torch reveals the sign 'Beware of the Bull'.

Headlights reveal Ken Holloway and Johnny Chapman at the next checkpoint. A backlit map again shows the route where the next destination is Moffat. Here the rally will join the Carlisle to Edinburgh road. At Talla reservoir near Tweedsmuir the second checkpoint test will take place.

Shots follow of headlights approaching the camera, then of a 'Check' sign, labelled with the number five. A Jaguar driven by J I Smith [Reg. No. NWA 308], No 20, drives to the checkpoint. Mr and Mrs Cassell check with the timekeeper Charlie Fairburn on the field telephone if it's OK to start his test. Ian Armstrong's Sunbeam, No. 22, will start his test next. His car lights disappear into the darkness.

A shot of the route card follows and it shows the Tushielaw Inn, near Selkirk, as the next stop on the route, a good breakfast and refuelling stop.

At dawn, a travelling shot follows a car on a rough road. The film cuts to a shot of bacon and egg frying in a pan. The competitors soon fill the car park at the Tushielaw Inn. A sign on the bell push says 'Check & Breakfast'. A close-up of a plate of eggs, bacon and fried bread being eaten follows.

Outside in the car park drivers check their cars. One driver checks his tyre pressures. A punctured tyre is replaced and the damaged one shows a large nail embedded in the tread. Another competitor, Dr Hudson, fills his Volkswagen with petrol from a hand cranked pump.

At 5.30am a second set of route cards and questionnaires are distributed to the drivers, they then drive off. Peter Brewis in an MG sets off down a country road flanked by a stonewall.

A man's finger points out the route on a map, where they will follow roads around Hawick. A car drives over a river bridge in bracken covered countryside. A travelling shot follows a road which takes the rally through the Scottish Borders and over Carter Bar into England. A shot of two road signs on the verge, one says England heading south, the other Scotland heading north. A close up of the England sign reads Newcastle 47 miles, Jedburgh 11 miles. The competitors drive into England and disappear into moorland country and to the next checkpoint in Redesdale Forest in Northumberland.

Stan Middleton and Jimmy Hilton officiate at the next checkpoint at a gated entrance. The Volkswagen Beetle [No. 18, Reg. no. GJR 697] of Dr Hudson signs in at the checkpoint and the car drives into woodland. A Jaguar and Standard Vanguard are parked just up the road from the checkpoint. The Jaguar is waiting to be released from the checkpoint, as is a Ford Zodiac [Reg No. OPT 480] driven by R Williams.

A Standard Vanguard driven by Jack Day [Reg No FJR 328] speeds along the road between an avenue of fir trees in the forest. A bailey bridge spans a former ford, a large black saloon [Reg No FBB 767] negotiates the bridge and another similar bridge a short distance away. The saloon passes a small cottage before heading off into open moorland.

A high angle shot shows a Singer Hunter rounding a hillside bend. A finger points to a map showing the homeward bound route back to Newcastle, from Carter Bar to the North Tyne. The large black saloon continues over rough road.

At Greenhaugh in Northumberland Mr & Mrs Greenham make more sedate progress on their motorbike along conventional roads, passing farm buildings and cottages. A sign at the pub reads: 'Holly Bush Inn, Ian William Anderson'. This information is used in the sequence of secret tests.

The Singer car seen earlier proceeds along the road. A travelling shot follows the road to the last checkpoint on the route. A sign reads 'Check' with the logos for Shell and BP just below. Mrs Hedley and daughter Joy officiate at the checkpoint.

Another travelling shot follows on the way to the last of the secret checks. This is a Victorian post box set into the wall at Sandhoe.

Frank Potts in his Morris Minor convertible [Reg. No GNL 156] continues homeward after collecting the answer to this checkpoint question.

The rally's progress down the North Tyne to Corbridge and then back to the start in the centre of Newcastle is pointed out on a map.

The film cuts back to where the rally began at St Andrews Motors' showroom in Gallowgate, Newcastle. The Ford Popular of Gordon Chanley [No.14 Reg. No. TBB1] approaches from Gallowgate garage and filling station, parking outside the St Andrew's Motors showroom. He walks inside where an official takes his route cards and sealed stop watch. After all his trials and tribulations another member of the staff is there to provide him with a well-earned cup of tea.

The rest of the competitors start to arrive home, parking in the street next to the showroom. Along the main street another Ford Popular finishes, belonging to Brian McAdam, followed by Peter Brewis in his MG. AM Hutchinson brings his Ford Popular [Reg. No. HAB 952] home. Mrs Hutchinson dashes into the showroom to log their finish.

Next, the Jaguar sports car arrives, followed by Stan Weightman's Ford Prefect. The Mercedes with a damaged wing driven by George Percival returns. The Volkswagen with the two doctors as driver and navigator arrives back. Dr Hutchinson parks it and Dr Hudson checks in to register their finishing times. Next Ian Armstrong arrives in his Sunbeam Talbot, followed by the Williams' Ford Zephyr [No 16] and Tom Urban's Ford Zodiac.

Competitors mill around outside chatting with each other, some making their way back to the checkpoint desk. Jack Day's Standard Vanguard is the last of the car entries to return. An official checks his list of contestants.

Officials also arrive back at the showroom in their Ford Prefect.

On their motorbike [No. 2 Reg. No. SBB 18] the Fieldhouses arrive, but are too late to qualify as winners. Another motorcycle rider, Brian Horden, and his pillion passenger returns on his Ariel motorbike. However, he has acquired a broken windshield and also run out of petrol.

The next shot shows more of the competitors' cars parked at the kerbside near the showroom. Above a doorway a sign reads Ediswan [a manufacturer of light bulbs and electronic valves]. At the farthest end of the street another sign advertises a venue for boxing and wrestling.

As competitors mill about outside waiting for the final result, the announcement is made, which reveals a dead heat. Officials gather in a huddle to work out how best to manage the situation. The winners will share custody of the cup for six months. They are Dr Hudson in the Volkswagen Beetle and Gordon Chanley in the Ford Popular.

Bill White tosses a coin to see which of the joint winners will take the cup first. Long shots follow of a moorland road and a small bridge, which help to illustrate the commentary's summing up of the race where fuel shortages had been a problem, causing some competitors to run out of petrol.

Final shots show a man with a St Bernard dog which carries, not recuperative brandy, but petrol.

Title: The End