Film ID: NEFA 21422 Video of NEFA 21422 THE SEA TRIALS OF THE N.B. 503 JAPONICA THE SEA TRIALS OF THE N.B. 503 JAPONICA 1961 Visitor TabsDescription An amateur film by Ken Christie of the sea trials of the fishing trawler Japonica in 1961. The trawler was built by T. Mitchison Ltd of Gateshead and launched on the 22nd November 1960, completed February 1961. Mr Christie worked for DECCA Marine Radar and was on board representing his company as part of the ships sea trials. The first film begins with view of a wooden sign that reads ‘T. Mitchison Ltd, Friars Goose Slipway’. From the quayside a Tyne Tugboat pulls the Titan II crane along the river Tyne. Moored along the quayside is the trawler Japonica. Title: Studio 15 presents Title: The Sea Trial of N.B. 503 Japonica Credit: Produced and filmed by Ken Christie Credit: Edited and titled by P. Longstaff General views from the views from the Japonica of men on board as well as on the quayside making the trawler ready for departure. It pulls away from the quayside. There are views from the wheelhouse with the Quartermaster at the wheel and the radar system in operation. A Tyne Tug pulls the Titan II crane past Hawthone Leslie. As the trawler travels along the Tyne towards the open sea it passes other ships moored along various quaysides including a whaling ship alongside Middle Docks at South Shields and the Norwegian North Sea ferry ‘Leda’. The South Shields car ferry travels behind the Japonica. The Japonica passes Tynemouth Pier and heads into the North Sea. General views on board ship of men and radar equipment. Another fishing trawler passes in the distance surrounded by gulls. A Royal Navy fisheries protection vessel, the M1200 HMS Soberton, travels past heading into the Tyne. As the Japonica turns back towards the Tyne, the Tyne Tug Impetus travels alongside. A foyboat is attached to the Japonica by rope and is pulled up the Tyne. The Japonica approaches the T. Mitchison yard and the film ends with the vessel pulling along the quayside, Context If anything, the muck-in-lens and amateur flaws of this film add to the charm and intimacy of a Tyneside engineer's journey on the new fishing trawler, Japonica. On board officially to represent his company, Decca Radar, the incidental, industrial Tyne hooks filmmaker Ken Christie with its river poetry – a well-worn slipway at T Mitchison’s Friars Goose yard, the colossal floating architecture of the Titan II crane, smoky tugs and foyboats working to the river’s rhythm. A marine engineer at the time, it is no surprise that Ken Christie’s camera proudly lingers on the technology tested on board the Japonica, including the ‘orange peel’ scanner registering the Tyne piers amidst all the wave clutter. In contrast to the Tyne of today, this film is also steeped in a still vibrant industrial culture on the busy river, with cranes at the Neptune, Walker and Swan Hunters shipyards, and large whaling factory ships under repair at Middle Docks, South Shields. The Japonica was built and fitted out at T Mitchison’s Friars Goose slipway on the south shore of the Tyne, which closed in 1964, the site partly covered today by Gateshead International Stadium.