Film ID:
NEFA 22019



Visitor Tabs


Amateur documentary footage of the annual Hoppings travelling fair on the Town Moor, Newcastle upon Tyne, and the 1934 Northumberland Plate race meeting at Newcastle Racecourse, High Gosforth Park, probably filmed by Mr S.J. Rosslyn Smith, who later became chairman of Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA).

Title: Town Moor

This sequence of the Hoppings travelling fair at the Town Moor, Newcastle, opens with shots of the steam powered swing boats and a carousel. Fairgoers enjoy a ride in the Chair O’ Plane ride (or Wave Swinger), silhouetted against the sky, and on the steam powered Caterpillar, smoke belching out of the chimney. Close-up of golliwog toys displayed on a stall. Portrait shot of a showman with an elephant. Close-up of people enjoying a fast roundabout ride. A little boy buys a ticket from an African man seated on the grass. A little girl slides down the helter-skelter on a coconut mat. A muscular, bare-chested boxer stands between two younger boxers at a boxing booth ('Troupe of Star.. ' visible sign on booth marquee) and peddles the fight with his patter to attract the audience. General view of the Chair O’ Plane in action. Next, whirling footage shot from the Chair O’ Plane. General view of a steam-driven ride. A little girl walks towards camera carrying a show doll, people buying from the stall in the background. Two chauffeurs (taxi drivers?) pose cheekily in front of a row of parked cars.

Title: 1934 Gosforth Park [over shot of racecourse and stands] By S.J.R.S.

Title: Plate Day

At Newcastle Racecourse, High Gosforth Park, for the Northumberland Plate race meeting (popularly known as the Pitmen’s Derby), two well-groomed young women in 30s pencil skirt suits and cloche hats lounge in the grass, smiling when they realise they are being filmed. The race took place on the 2nd July.

In the build-up to the race, men and women mill around the betting booths. Bookmakers yell out the odds on a very busy day at the races. A bookie’s placard advertises odds on the horses, including Sussex Solvent. Other bookmakers in the ring behind the grandstands include George Taylor’s. A tipster in a top hat is selling bets. He doffs his hat to camera. A bookmaker’s assistant holds a placard for Mr H. Webb Gave, announcing yesterday’s race winners, including Solvent and Clasper. More bookies shout their odds.

More scenes of punters before the race follow. A woman in a leather, belted jacket walks forward talking to the cameraman. Men and women lounge on the grass, some with picnics. A young ice cream seller operates from a mobile cart, a little boy hovering beside him. Group portrait of friends at the races, some smoking.

A man in a trilby walks out from a marquee bar. A crowd of men in flat caps (and one small boy hanging around at the back) are huddled in a ring around a 3-card sharp.

A man dressed in a tweed jacket and waistcoat is checking a Sunday Sport newspaper. Headlines read: “Simonside Pleases in Good Gallop”, “Head Lad’s Confidence in Peacock’s Charge” and “Large Crowd Watches ‘Plate’ Candidates at Work”. The man gives a quick grin to camera. Two women lounge on the grass, one dangling a cigarette from the corner of her mouth, requesting something from a male friend. Men and women queue to place bets at the racecourse booths.

The jockeys and horses gallop onto the course for a pre-race warm-up.  As competitors race up the track, tic-tac men are at work in the stands. A bookie sits next to his pitch for Iresons, taking last minute bets from two women.

The horses canter back up the track to the starter line. They gather at the start.

Title: They’re off!

The tape goes up and the race begins, the horses galloping past camera. Various shots show the race in progress. Two elegantly-dressed women wander across the grass towards the track, smiling widely at the camera. The horses round a bend on the course, White Plains ridden by Eric Smith in the lead. [White Plains was the eventual winner with Lament in second place.] A group of men and women in hats are gathered watching the race beside the race track. Low angle action shot of horses racing by camera to the finish.

A man walks past camera smiling. Women sit on the grass together smoking. Crowds are walking swiftly to the exit. Shot of the almost empty stands, a million pieces of litter blowing across the racecourse.

Outside the Newcastle Racecourse, Gosforth Park, large crowds have gathered, waiting for transport home. A double decker bus drives past. Thousands are milling around at the racecourse entrance. A travelling shot from the top deck of a bus ends this sequence.

Footage of the Newcastle Town Moor Hoppings follows. A young girl hangs around with her mother beside a ride. A man slides down the helter-skelter with his little girl, both enjoying the ride. Little children are riding a juvenile galloper. More people spin around on the Caterpillar ride.

A young Mademoiselle Yvonne show woman stands at her booth, dressed in a striped dungaree combo. She begins her patter to the crowd. At another show booth a man in a flat cap and white coat is holding a dog, waving a flag, and luring in the crowd with his banter. Men and boys are going into the show. Sedgewicks, a travelling menagerie, advertising “King of Wild Animal Trainers Lorenzo performs here”. Another show is advertising “Billy, The World’s Biggest Pig.” At another show, a black show-woman dressed in an animal skin with a feather fringe and carrying a feather fan smiles broadly from the stage. She is standing hand-in-hand with a performer in a cowboy outfit.

General view of the Hopping’s main avenue between rides. A carousel ride is in action. A man beckons from the ride encouraging customers. A steam ride chimney belches out smoke. Another booth has a sign that reads: “Cannot be Beaton [sic]”. A couple grin broadly as they take a ride on an animal galloper. An early version of the Waltzers swings around with its share of spectators. A child slides down the helter-skelter. A huge swing-boat ride is in motion. The Mont-Blanc ride swirls around with its twisting cars. A couple get off after their ride. A sign advertises a ride for children at 1d. People pay for a go at another attraction – the high striker. A man theatrically takes off his jacket before taking his turn with the mallet.

At Sedgwick’s American Menagerie, a show man and woman are on the stage trying to bring in the punters. A monkey tied to the stage is teased with a coconut. A sultry young show-woman is seated on the edge of a stage (probably the ‘wall of death’ performer). A sign advertises “Looping the Loop with sidecar”. A male performer in make-up and checked trousers (a clown?) stands at the entrance to a circus show. General view of a large crowd in front of the pavilion for Pinder’s Circus.

A little girl runs between adults at the fair. At a sideshow, there’s a wall of clocks with their hands spinning backwards wildly. A man has a go at a coconut shy whilst smoking a cigarette.

General views follow of the Hoppings fair in action. Two policemen walk jauntily down the Hopping’s avenue of shows towards camera.

Title: The End