Film ID: NEFA 21223 Video of NEFA_21223 Whitley Bay WHITLEY BAY 1950 Visitor TabsDescription This amateur documentary takes a look at a day in the life of the seaside town of Whitley Bay in the early 1950s. Footage includes scenes inside the Spanish City pleasure park and funfair, a Punch and Judy show on Whitley Sands, Table Rock's Bathing Pool, the open air pools on the Southern Promenade and views of St Mary's Island. This film was a Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) production. A passenger train passes through Whitley Bay Station. A sign on the railway station platform points the way to the town and beach. Outside the station in Station Square, a few young lads hang around with their home-made go-karts (perhaps offering to carry luggage for tourists) and others are just hanging out with friends. Mothers and children are waiting outside the station, one child with a doll’s pram, as travellers head towards Station Road. General view of Whitley Road, the Victoria Hotel and the New Coliseum cinema glimpsed on the right, and a Hunter’s coach parked at a stop. Pedestrians cross the road (close to camera). A woman carries her child down the street, featuring a row of shops with traditional awnings, cars parked the full length. General view of a street junction which features an art deco building with “Central” lettered sign. In the background a sign on a building reads: “The Price of Socialism on the North-East Coast”. A black Ford Prefect drives up the Links towards the Spanish City Pleasure Park. General views of suburban residential streets, including a street of mock Tudor-style 30s houses. Restoration of a garden area on the seafront is underway, probably at The Links, men digging the ground and placing ornamental rock next to a shelter. General view of the busy Promenade looking north. General view of the facade of the painted art deco style Spanish City Pleasure Park entrance. A sign glimpsed through the entrance reads: “Mechanical Novelties For All”. Young children enjoy a jet fairground ride in front of the art deco frontage of Hoadleys, a Waltzer ride seen in the background. General view of fairground rides inside the Pleasure Park, including a sign for the Figure 8 Railway rollercoaster and Hoadley’s Juvenile Autodrome ride. Close-up of a young girl on a model moped, part of a Galloper roundabout, with a model George V No. 1948 engine on the ride behind. A couple set off in a car on the Figure 8 Railway rollercoaster. Various close-up shots follow of people in the cars on the wooden rollercoaster. A fairground worker in a white boiler suit straps a couple in to a car on the Roll O’ Plane ride, the Buzz Bomb ride visible in the foreground and entrance to the Ghost Train also seen. Three teenage girls are watching the rides, the façade to the House That Jack Built (hall of mirrors) in the background. Close-ups of two hand painted funfair signs. One reads “Let’s Do It Again” and another features a cartoon woman in a Victory Roll hairstyle. A man and woman sell crabs and seafood from a stall outside a building, pasted with two posters advertising “The Lady Mislaid” production at the Priory Theatre. A young boy hangs out around the stall. General view of floral gardens on Whitley Bay seafront, perhaps off Watts Road near the War Memorial. A crowd of children watch a Punch and Judy show on the beach at Whitley Sands, Southern Promenade. Shots of the performance are intercut with crowd reactions. General views of the extremely crowded beach with some people seated on deck chairs. Various shots show children playing on the Victorian style swing boats, enjoying rides in the decorated buggies pulled by ponies along the shore line, paddling in the sea with their dresses tucked into knickers, and on donkey rides along the beach. A man in a straw trilby sells toffee apples on the beach. A girl in pigtails buys two. Further along Whitley Sands, a couple sit on the beach next to their child’s pram with a sun shade, next to a ramshackle wooden walkway. A young woman is seated on the walkway swinging her leg, wearing high (1940s style) white court shoes. High angle shot of a brightly coloured Toyland Special roundabout for young children on the beach. General view of Whitley Bay seafront looking north, people on a rocky spur into the sea. Various shots follow of children and adults paddling and swimming in the open-air paddling pools on the Southern Promenade. Next, children and a few adults play in the tidal Table Rock’s Bathing Pool, the sea pouring over a rock ledge and children balancing on the ledge for fun. Some men are sea angling from Table Rocks. Overhead shot of a beach. General view of St Mary’s Island and Lighthouse. People stroll around St Mary’s Island and on the causeway path and rocks leading to the island. General views of caravans and cars parked on The Links cliff tops. Overhead shot of families playing on a beach, ball games and cricket, in a rocky cove near St Mary’s Island. A family enjoy a picnic spread on the beach, General view of people on the cove beach, a camp fire smoking in the background. A man throws seaweed for his dog to chase in the sea. A thin girl paddles, her dress tucked into her knickers. General view of St Mary’s Lighthouse. The tide is coming in and the sea splashes the base of the now covered Toyland Special roundabout. A child digs in the sand, St Mary’s Lighthouse in the background. A dog digs out a hole in the sand. Toddlers play on the beach and a woman strolls along the beach during high tide. Context Picture postcard Whitley Bay in the 50s A Mecca for fun – Whitley Bay still thrills the holiday crowds in the 50s. In 1959 an advert declared Whitley Bay “A Mecca of Pleasure and Gaiety …”. This rich Kodachrome cinematography captures a bygone era for the fashionable seaside town in ice cream colours. The bracing beach, with carousel, swing boats and Punch and Judy for the children, is just steps away from the popular carnival attractions of the Spanish City amusement park, where John Hoadley’s Dive Bomber and the Figure 8 Roller Coaster rides shake up thrill-seeking holiday makers. This is amateur film-making at its best, capturing the growth of Whitley Bay as a seaside town in stunning colour. The 1904 electrification of the North Tyneside rail network (with a grand new station built 6 years later) stoked Whitley Bay’s seaside tourism. The streets of red-brick and Mock-Tudor suburban homes pictured (scorned by 30s literati including W.H. Auden) allude to the great inter-war commuter boom in the town. Whitley Bay’s fame as the “Blackpool of the North East” grew after the opening on 14 May 1910 of the Spanish City Empress Theatre and Pleasure Gardens, still a magnet for fun-seekers in the 50s, when the town lured Fairs Week crowds all the way from industrial western Scotland. At the time this film was made, John Hoadley was the master showman and manager of Spanish City, and continued in the role until the late 1970s.