Film ID:
NEFA 10852



Visitor Tabs


The first episode of a two-part Tyne Tees Television feature that looks at the landscape, industry, history and traditions of the North East coastline from Whitby to South Shields and the River Tyne, presented by Austin Steele.

Title: Tyne Tees Television Presents

Title: Your Heritage.

Title: The Coast of Commerce.

Titles play over various scenes around the north east coastline that include a steam tug boat passing industrial docksides on the River Tyne. The film opens with a high angle shot over the town of Whitby, followed by shots of pedestrians in Whitby streets, further overhead view of the harbour and town. Fishing boats sail back into harbour. Small baskets of the catch are unloaded from hold to quayside, and poured into crates. A man repairs nets. Many boats are moored along the River Esk in Whitby. There are atmospheric shots of the old cobbled steps, the cliff top church graveyard, and Whitby Abbey ruins, followed by close-ups of the cross and stone memorial to Caedmon, St Mary's Churchyard, Whitby. The inscription reads, "To the glory of God and in memory of Caedmon the father of English Sacred Song. Fell asleep hard by, 680".

A travelling shot follows down the steep streets of Staithes. Four children walk past quaint cottages, with shots of Captain Cook’s Cottage following. A priest sits with a row of young boys on the harbour wall. A general view of harbour breakwaters is intercut with the priest pointing off screen and speaking to the boys. A group of women seated on the harbour front wear flowery pale headdresses, uniquely influenced by traditional Danish custom.

The next sequence includes footage of the coastline at Saltburn, the cable car (water powered cliff tramway) down cliffs to the pier and beach, Victorian terraced housing and hotels (probably the Zetland) on the promenade and close-ups of the typical elderly visitors at the resort.

A young couple plunge into the surf at Redcar beach. Shots of the town include the clock tower at the west end of the High Street, a memorial to King Edward VII, and a couple lighting a cigarette in the wind. Back on the beach, a mother, two boys and a dog paddle in the sea, boys on donkeys eat fish and chips grumpily. A family rides in a small tourist power boat.

The film cuts to a Middlesbrough back alley scene with washing on lines and industrial chimneys to left. Middlesbrough Town Hall towers over the Albert Road. Shots of chemical factory works, coal transported by train. There are a variety of dramatic shots of the Transporter Bridge in operation, the people and cars that use the bridge.

Driving on a route northwards by the coast, we reach Hartlepool. Footage depicts shipyards looking inland, an empty harbour, embankment wall, St Hilda’s Church under scaffolding and old streets on the Headland.

The presenter holds an old theatre bill advertising, amongst other acts, “New and Serio-Comic pantomime, The Pick of a Muck Heap and Forty Thieves” at Town Hall, Hartlepool. The presenter interviews local historian, Mr Wood, collector of old posters and bills, and discusses Hartlepool’s history of piracy and criminality, seafaring trade and industry.

The scene switches to the series of unimposing bore wells on flat land that mark the salt beds, near Greatham. Shots of briny water pumped to a surface trough illustrate the process. Shots of the production and packing of salt at the Cerebos factory follow. Interior shots of a laboratory feature two scientists who examine samples of salt rock, and the chemical purification, filtering and evaporating process works are shown, with a worker holding a glass of slurry to camera. Slurry is fed into large, hot rotating drums where it forms cakes of salt. Footage of the drying and sieving factory processes, the storage silos and feeding of the salt through pipes to the factory floor. A woman in scarf turban operates a machine that guillotines printed sheets of metal to size. Another female worker operates a high-speed automatic packing machine, and rows of female workers sit either side of the conveyor belt completing construction of the salt drum lids. A woman operates the automatic machine that stamps on the label and seals the pour holes. There are close-ups of the mechanical finishing processes of sealing, filling and packing. A train leaves the railway sidings at the works to transport the salt for home and export markets.

A travelling shot from a train that emerges onto Sunderland Railway Bridge, with Wearmouth Bridge on the right begins the next sequence. A view down river of the two bridges with industrial banks of the River Wear follows. There is a high overhead shot onto a passing ship. Sunderland’s shipbuilding industry is documented, with construction of merchant ships under way. Arty shot of the electricity generating station framed by the railway bridge ironwork.

Cars drive along a main road and tree lined avenue to the village of Whitburn. Georgian style houses line the embankment adjoining the road. A ruin with tracery window and arched doorway stands in the garden behind Whitburn House, an eccentric monument built by a former owner. A final shot of the Whitburn avenue closes this scene.

Views of Marsden Bay from the cliff top are followed by a shot of the ugly lift that links cliff to beach. Various shots depict the Marsden Rock with seabird colony, arch and sea. A woman runs from the waves. A group of men pose on a rocking boat, sailing to an off shore rig. The boat approaches a boring rig three miles out in the North Sea. Various shots of the rig follow. The presenter is hoisted onto the rig platform in an “enlarged dog basket.” On top of the rig platform, the presenter is introduced to and interviews Mr. McGraw, geologist in charge of operations, who explains the rig’s connection to coal mining and the search for undersea coal reserves. The interview is intercut with shots of the drill and borer and other machinery in operation, and men working on the rig, sandstone core on platform. The scene cuts to coal fed into the hold of a ship.

The camera pans across the mouth of the River Tyne at coastal town South Shields. The historic Tyne lifeboat and anchor rests at the junction of Ocean Road and the seafront at South Shields, a monument to its creators, William Woodhave and Henry Greathead. Next, there is an overhead shot of market day at South Shields, followed by close-ups of browsers and hagglers at the stalls. The camera picks out three men of Yemeni origin (?) wandering through the market stalls, the presenter commenting on the “cosmopolitan” character of the shoppers. A bulldozer demolishes old housing in South Shields. Shots of modern low rise housing blocks, steel, concrete and glass buildings, and irregular facades of housing blocks, elegant lampposts, and the new contemporary buildings for the Marine College. The camera tilts up the prow of a new ship in a Tyne shipyard, named Trefusis. Skilled shipyard workers are in action, and cranes criss-cross the night sky.

End Credits: Introduced by Austin Steele Written by Philip McDonnell Sound Recordist Ray Hale Camera Fred Thomas Produced by Leslie Barrett Directed by Michael Dunk A Tyne Tees Television Features Production