Film ID:
NEFA 21343



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This amateur drama contrasts the lives of two brothers employed in marine engineering on Tyneside, with heavy industry such as shipbuilding hit hard by the Depression in 1930s Britain. One brother shirks work and evening classes, and turns to womanising, gambling and crime. The other works hard and is successful. The film includes footage of the annual Hoppings travelling funfair held on the Town Moor, Newcastle upon Tyne, the new Brough Park Greyhound Stadium in Byker, and of Whitley Bay. This fiction film is a Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) production.

Credit: A Newcastle and District A.C.A. Production

Title: “Slipways”

Credits: Directed by James Cameron Junr. Photographed by L. Bonser


The Players

Bill – Robert Jobling

Peter – Alan F. Dodds

Peter’s Wife – Mary Thompson


The Players

Molly – Lilly Logan

The Girl – Doris Graham

The Mother – Mrs. E. Thompson

Peter and Bill have tea together with their mother. It’s nearly 7 o’clock. She tells them to get a move on, or they’ll be late for their evening classes.

Title: Hurry or you will be late for the classes

The two men gulp down more tea and hurry off. They walk up a cobbled street and stop outside a college or school building. Peter gestures to the entrance gate. But Bill has no intention of going to the classes.

Title: I am not going

Bill heads off elsewhere. Peter shakes his head.

Bill walks across the Town Moor in Newcastle upon Tyne smoking a cigarette, the Hoppings travelling fair in the background. A young woman passes him and gives him a sideways glance. He turns around and catches her up. She’s going to the fairground and invites him along. The two wander through a busy Hoppings, the Helter Skelter seen in the background. Bill pays for a ride with the woman on the exciting Chair-o-Plane (or swinger), its steam centre engine belching out smoke. Close-ups of the two enjoying the ride follow. The ride slows to a standstill. Next, Peter pays for some balls at W. Cowies traditional knock-em-down game stall, the young woman having a go at winning a prize.

The new couple walk down a shaded path next to an old wall, his arm draped over her shoulder. The two smoke a cigarette. When the cigarettes are smoked, they share a passionate kiss. Afterwards, he checks his watch. He rather rudely makes his excuses and says he has to go. She glowers a little, shrugs and wanders off alone.

Bill and Peter’s mother knits by a fire roaring in an old kitchen range. [A little strange as the Hoppings fair is a summer event.] She looks at the clock. It’s twenty-five minutes to ten. Peter is almost back home, his books in hand, when Bill catches him up and grabs a few books from him. Peter tells him off for his deceit.

Title: Mother ought to know how you waste her money.

They let themselves into their mother’s house.

Workers are busy in a marine engineering workshop, including Peter and Bill. Peter gets on with his work diligently. Bill shares a joke with two young apprentices. The gaffer walks in, checking their work and giving them orders. Bill lights a cigarette at one of the work benches. The supervisor tells him to put it out.

Title: Knocking off time

The apprentices and engineers stop work and leave the workshop.

Title: Sunday

Peter lights a fire in the old range on Sunday morning. All spruced up in a Knickerbocker suit, he goes for a walk, smoking a pipe, and waits for his girlfriend in a park. A young woman carrying a small suitcase meets him in the park. They greet each other and head off to catch a County bus. They board the bus for the countryside. Arm in arm, they wander through the countryside, pick a spot next to a stream, and have a picnic. His girlfriend notices he’s pre-occupied.

Title: I’m worried about Bill. He’ll get the sack one day.

They chat and enjoy the picnic.

Back at home, Bill is still in bed, smoking and reading the News of the World. A front page headline announces: “Plans to revive our shipping. Bold scheme for scrapping tonnage. Remedy for unemployed.” His mother comes into his bedroom.

Title: You must get up Bill. It is dinner time.

Annoyed, she tells him off. He turns over lazily and just goes back to sleep.

Meanwhile, Peter and his girlfriend enjoy their day out in the country. They pack up the picnic and stroll back to catch the bus.

Title: Time Passes

Peter is at work in the dock office. A group of shipyard workers walk through the docks after their shift. Peter skulks along after them. He looks over at the dock office. He sneaks in, dressed in his dirty overalls, and starts rifling through the pockets of a jacket hanging up there. Peter comes in and tells him off. His brother makes excuses. Peter loans him a few quid, and Bill heads off from the dock office.

Punters make their way to the ticket office at Brough Park Greyhound Stadium, at The Fossway, Byker, in Newcastle. Greyhounds are walked round the track by their handlers. The stadium is packed with spectators. By the side of the track, Bill is studying form. He takes out a few of the notes his brother loaned him. The greyhounds are put into their starting boxes. The mechanical hare sets off round the course, and the greyhounds race off, chasing the bait. Bill watches the race closely, but loses. He tears up his betting slip. The next set of dogs are led onto the course by their handlers. The bookmakers are taking bets.

The lid lifts on the starters’ block as the next greyhound race starts up. Slow motion footage of the greyhounds in action, rounding a bend on the track. Bill counts the change he has left after a bad day’s betting at the stadium.

Peter is digging over flower beds in the front garden of a new semi-detached 1930s house. In the background, there’s an advertisement for “E. Dryden builder houses for sale £675”. Bill walks up and leans over the garden wall to have a word with his brother. He tries to borrow money again. Motor cars are parked on the estate road.

Title:  No Bill, you’ve had your last penny from me.

Peter continues digging in the garden.

On a winter day, Peter’s girlfriend, now wife, dressed in a smart pencil skirt suit and matching hat, walks down onto a terrace overlooking the sea, possibly at Longsands. Tynemouth. Peter hurries to meet her there, and is a little late. She looks at her watch, and he apologises. He puts his arm around her and they walk down onto the beach.

Title: One evening later.

Peter, his girlfriend and a male friend are enjoying a night in singing around an upright piano. Bill sneaks round the back of his brother’s house and lets himself into the back door. In the living room, on the sofa in front of a coal fire, the three are enjoying looking through a photo album, laughing together. Bill has broken in and is rifling through drawers in a dining room sideboard, looking for money to steal. He opens up Peter’s wife’s purse. Peter’s wife comes into the dining room, leaving Peter and friend in the other room. Bill hides behind the door. Peter offers his friend a cigarette. Back in the dining room, Peter’s wife discovers her purse open on the sideboard and all the drawers open. Bill jumps out and attacks her, and escapes. Peter and his friend chase after the intruder.

Back in the house, Peter gives his shocked wife a drink.

Down at the docks, Bill is working at the workshops and fiddles with a cramp attached to a marine part hoisted on chains. Bill’s brother, now a supervising engineer, meets the group of workers and apprentices to look at the ship part. Whilst examining it, one engineered part falls from its hoist, and hits his brother on the head, knocking him out. The brother is sneaking a look around a corner at the accident. The workers try to bandage Bill’s bloody wound with a handkerchief. They rush off to get a board to use as a stretcher. They carry him away.

Peter is lying in his bed at home with his head and eye bandaged, and is visited by a doctor and nurse. The doctor takes his pulse.

His brother Bill pays a visit to his brother’s home. He lingers at the garden fence, trying to decide whether to go in. He is a little remorseful. Finally, he walks away.

In the bedroom, the doctor shakes Peter’s hand and leaves. The nurse plumps the pillow and check’s Peter’s bandage, tucking him up in the bed. She starts to read from a notebook, but leaves when the patient’s wife comes into the bedroom and checks on her husband. She kisses him lovingly and they chat.

Back at his mother’s house, Bill is seated with the mother and a young woman, feeling penitent. The girl and mother are comforting him, but he shakes his head.

Title: I caused that accident at the works.

They continue to reason with Bill.

Title: We must go to Peter’s

He shakes his head. But finally he accompanies his mother and the girl to Peter’s house. They ring the bell and are let in. They gather around Peter’s bed. Bill apologises.

Title: All right Bill. Forget about it.

The brothers shake hands.

In the last scene, the two brothers, Peter’s wife and Bill’s female friend walk arm-in-arm along the beach at Whitley Bay. They skim stones and fool around. St Mary’s Island can be seen in the background.

Title: The End

[Brough Park Greyhound Stadium opened on 23 June 1928.]