Film ID:
NEFA 14158



Visitor Tabs


Sponsored film of the launching of the Katsina Palm from the shipyards of Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson in 1957 in Newcastle. The Katsina Palm was built for the Palm Line shipping company, and destined to work primarily in West Africa. The ship was capable of carrying 10,000 tons of cargo and could travel at 14 knots; she was launched by the wife of the Palm Line’s director, Mrs A. Hoffman.

Title: Palm Line Presents
Title: A Ship is Launched
Title: An Editorial Film Production

The film opens with a view of a Red Ensign flag fluttering in the wind, the shipyards of the River Tyne visible in the background.

View of a tug boat, smoke billowing from its funnel. Consecutive views of cargo ships moored at a dockside.

The Katsina Palm is under construction. Scaffolding and girders surround the ship. View of the ship’s bow as a crane looms over the top.

A riveting team is at work on the ship’s deck. One worker heats the rivets in a furnace then tosses one across the deck to another worker who positions the rivet in its socket and drives the molten rivet home with a pneumatic hammer. Welders are also at work, joining sections of bulkheads, deckhouses, the funnel, and stern assembly.

View of the Stern of the Katsina Palm, showing its name and registered port (Liverpool) painted in large letters. Shot of the ship’s propeller, and nearby, a wooden scaffolding framework.

Sister ships are under construction in neighbouring docks, view of a laid keel.

Views of shipyard workers surrounded by rusting metal sheets and panels, as they work on welding and cutting. A pre-fabricated section of metal sheeting is craned upwards.

A worker operates a drilling machine, cutting holes is steel sheets.

View of the stern of the ship, its lettering and red ensign flag visible.

Bow shot of the Katsina Palm, the Palm Line’s crest painted on the bow, and a temporary platform assembled at the foot of the ship’s hull where the launching ceremony will take place.

Close-up bow shot: a crane moves above the ship’s deck, and a Union Flag flies in the foreground.

Close-up of the Palm Line crest; the shot then pans over to the ship’s name, painted on the bow.

View of the unpainted ship’s cabin.

A worker paints a section of the metalwork.

Other shipyard workers grease the runway along which the ship will slide when it is launched.

Close-up view of the river, where a marker sticks up measuring the depth of the tide: 4 and a half feet.

Close-up of the ship’s propeller. A pair of workers knock out the wooden chocks supporting the ship’s hull with sledge hammers, hitting the chocks alternately.

Close-up of the bottle of Champagne which is to be used to launch the ship. The bottle has been wrapped in red and white ribbons.

Close-up of a sign pointing, “To The Launch."”.

Mrs A. Hoffman, wife of the Palm Line’s managing director, leads a group of dignitaries up the staircase to the launching platform. She carries a bouquet of flowers. A man chalks a drawing of a palm tree onto the ship’s hull for Mrs Hoffman to aim at when she smashes the Champagne bottle.

Mrs Hoffman names and blesses the ship, “I name this ship Katsina Palm. May God bless her, and all who sail in her”. She smashes the bottle against the ship’s hull.

View of the ship’s bow as it slides away into the river, the camera focussing on the Palm Line crest. View of the ship’s propeller as it gradually sinks into the river water. The ship slides past crowds standing on the dockside. View of the empty slipway, the ship now floating in the river beyond. Tug boats approach the ship.

Title: The End