Film ID:
NEFA 15563



Visitor Tabs


A quirky amateur documentary that records some of the ship launches and maritime life on the River Tyne in the 1960s and 1970s. Footage includes Swan Hunter shipyard launches of the Royal Navy ship HMS Norfolk, the Tyne Pride and Esso Northumbria super tankers, river and harbour pilots on the Tyne, and the last voyage of a Fred Olsen Lines Norwegian cruise ship, Braemar. A home-recorded track of songs, actual sound, sound effects, and personal commentary accompanies the film.

Title: The Tyne Songs & Men

A captain walks up a gangplank and boards a naval ship in the brief opening shot. People mill around on a quayside, possibly at the Swan Hunter shipyards. A mother with two small girls turns to face the camera and smiles. One of the children looks towards camera.

Various low angle shots track the sailors and officers lined up and grouped on the decks of the Royal Naval Ship, HMS Norfolk (D21).

The same family, now accompanied by young grandmother, pose on the quayside.

Further shots record naval crew standing to attention on board the naval destroyer, some gathered at the front of the ship and some saluting. A shot pans along hull to the ship name “Norfolk”. The ship moves away from the quayside. This scene may record the launch of the ship in November 1967.

The next sequence documents the history of the navigation pilots that guide ships in and out of harbour. The film tracks the movements of a pilot cutter from Tyne river dockside to open water, with views of North Shields Fish Quay and the banks of the Tyne. There is an interior shot of a pilot at the boat wheel and controls. An elderly man turns and salutes the camera. The Herd Groyne Lighthouse is glimpsed in passing through the boat control deck window. After views of open water and a distant ship, there are shots of the Esso Warwickshire tanker as it sails closer to the pilot boat and navigates down the Tyne. A voice over explains the history of the maritime or harbour pilot.

There are views from the rear of the pilot cutter, speeding through the estuary. A man stands on the deck, the tanker visible in the background. A frontal view of a large ship moving up the mouth of the Tyne. There are portrait shots on boat deck of a woman in pink coat with fur stole round her neck, the mouth of the Tyne in the background.

Through windows of the pilot cutter, shipyards are visible on the banks of the Tyne. Various shots record the Pilot, crewman and woman on board the boat as it speeds past the waterfront shipyards and industry on the banks. There are general views of the glistening water and silhouetted cranes and docks, as large ships sail on the Tyne, moving in and out of docks. The DFDS Seaways cruise ferry has left the Tyne Commission Quay and travels beside the pilot cutter, some crew and passengers on deck.

The film cuts to a view of the Tyne Pride super tanker in a wet dock at the Wallsend site of Swan Hunter. There are various shots of its launch (in 1975) including the ship as it moves down the slipway into the Tyne. A recording of a ship naming speech and actual sound is heard on the soundtrack. A high angle shot documents people watching the launch from the opposite bank. The ship moves towards camera and makes waves. Various shots of the Tyne pride illustrate how close it is to people watching from the bank. Chains hang from the ship into the water. People are on deck. A small crowd of children are watching from the water’s edge, some children play in the waves created by the ship. There are further low angle shots of the Tyne Pride. Tugboats arrive to manoeuvre the tanker downriver. Crowds watch from grass banks beside the Tyne, the massive scale of the tanker towering over the landscape.

Next, a captain chats to a woman on the deck of the Braemar. Both pose for the camera. They then discuss the inscribed ship’s bell on deck. In the next shot they are inside the ship bridge looking out of the windows.

The Braemar 10310 cruise ship is moored on the Tyne, probably at the International Ferry Terminal in Newcastle. The woman in the previous scene peers at the water from the quayside.

A high angle view looks down towards the mouth of the Tyne from the south bank. The Braemar blows steam from its funnel as it passes the beach of caravans and people beside the Herd Groyne Lighthouse, South Shields, where they watch the ship return (?). There are various shots of the ship sailing downriver on the Tyne, passing a modern housing estate, known as Meadow Well or the Ridges estate, on the south bank, followed by Tynemouth Priory and Castle on the headland opposite.

A printed article dated August 2nd 1975 records news of the last voyage from the Tyne Commission Quay of the veteran Norwegian mail boat Braemar, after 22 years of running between North Shields, Kristiansand and Oslo.

The Braemar moves towards the mouth of the Tyne, many people lining railings on deck. The pilot cutter guides the cruise ship. People are gathered on the breakwater beside the Herd Groyne Lighthouse for the ship’s final voyage.

The next scenes are at Marsden Bay, with shots of Marsden Rock prior to the collapse of the arch, seabird colonies on the rock, people looking at the stack and caves in the rock, and stormy North Sea waves crashing onto the rocky beach. There are portrait shots on the beach of a small girl in a large furry hat with bobble ties.

Very stormy seas hit the lighthouse at Tynemouth, some waves engulfing it. A small boat struggles in waves on the sea.

There are shots of the television screen as news records rescue at the wreck of a Greek freighter ship that has run aground near the mouth of the Tyne in hurricane winds.

A historic ship sails towards the mouth of the Tyne past the Tynemouth headland. A still of an old 17th or 18th century map of the River Tyne. Old illustrations of the Tyne at Newcastle and Gateshead with ruins of the flood damaged Old Tyne Bridge. Various shots record the operation of Newcastle’s Swing Bridge, opening to let river traffic through, with the high level Tyne Bridge and King Edward Bridge upstream. Ships wait for the swing bridge to open and there are views of the Quayside. There are general views across river of a smoggy, industrial, quayside landscape in Newcastle, tower blocks in the background. From the Gateshead side of the Tyne there is a view of Spiller’s Tyne Mill at the eastern end of the Quayside. A great number of cranes stand at docks on the Tyne, where ships are unloading goods. The camera pans back for a panoramic view of the river in the foreground with the city of Newcastle in the background.

Two women on the Gateshead quayside of the Tyne hold a baby and young girl, the Tyne Bridge downriver to the right and a view of the Newcastle side of the river in the background.

Stills of Newcastle in illustrations and pages of a history book follow. A high angle shot from the river records a quayside with the base of a gantry crane on the wooden quayside. Further shots taken from a ship capture a tugboat as it manoeuvres on the river. A ship heads towards the North Sea down the Tyne, some shots through the rigging, with a panoramic view of the river landscape. A ship sits in a re-fitting berth with cranes at the Swan Hunter shipyards. There are various shots of the huge Esso Hibernia tanker in dock, with a close up of the Load Line painted on its hull.

A tracking shot from the river records shipbuilding yards along the quaysides. Construction is in progress in a building berth at the Swan Hunter shipyards. Heavy traffic drives along a busy road leading from hilltop down to the shipyards. The Esso Northumbria is in the distant background. From a park overlooking the Wallsend Swan Hunter Shipyard we look down at the Esso Northumbria super tanker. A shot pans across the many people in a park on the South Shields bank of the river to witness the launch of the tanker in 1969 and the massive scale of the ship. Various shots record the tanker’s journey down the Tyne and out to sea, passing the Tynemouth headland followed by the two lighthouses on pier ends at the river mouth.

The film cuts back to shots of the Swan Hunter shipyards as a ship navigates into a dock. A woman looks at the ship moored in the dry dock. A ship’s officer is hoisted onto ship by crane. Various shots of ships in dry dock follow.

Illustrations show first the Cunard ship, Mauritania, and then the SS Danmark. The the film cuts to a shot of the historic Danish sailing ship, the SS Danmark, as it enters the Tyne. The pilot climbs on board. The pilot cutter accompanies the Danmark. Various shots capture the ship sailing upriver, with shots of the rigging and the golden masthead on the ship’s bow. The captain talks to two passengers on board ship. The ship sails past the Herd Groyne Lighthouse at the Tyne mouth, a crowd of people watching along the breakwater. A range of shots record the ships and the river landscape, including high angle shots of people standing on the deck of the ship. An illustration of the Danmark closes this sequence.

A series of hazy nostalgic shots capture another ship launched into the Tyne, guided by tugboats. People shield their eyes in the sunshine and watch the launch from an elevated park.

Brief shot captures a large fire at a quayside building.

The final sequence begins with stills of the “Tyne” lifeboat and the lifeboat battling in a storm.

Looking across the Tyne, we see the large cruise ships, Halycon Cove and Vistafjord. Shots of the Vistafjord moving downriver follow. Pilot boats are out on the Tyne and small rowing boats are moored on one bank, bobbing in the waves.

End Title: The End