Film ID:
NEFA 20930



Visitor Tabs


The final of a three part Tyne Tees Television documentary presented by Mike Neville, in which he journeys down the Tees. The journey takes in the source of the river and follows the it's progress through wild countryside, small villages and towns, showing how the river Tees has contributed to peoples lives and industry. The film finally reaches the mouth of the river on the east coast where towns such as Yarm, Stockton and Middlesbrough have over the years been historic ports and the site of major heavy industries on both the north and south sides of the Tees. This edition was originally transmitted on the 11 October 1962.

Title: Tyne Tees Television Presents

Title: Your Heritage

Title: The River Tees

The film opens on general views of the source of the river Tees. Mike Neville says that the river is historically a division between lands, and both a builder and a destroyer. General views of a boy throwing stones into the river and then playing with a paper boat, which floats downstream. Mike Neville watches the boat floating in the water, its progress is interrupted by rocks and stones and he gives it a helping hand on it's way. It has 100 miles to go before it reaches the sea, a difficult route through all kinds of landscapes.

General views of Cauldrons' Snout waterfall in upper Teesdale. The paper boat sails on through hazardous conditions with another waterfall quickly approaching at High Force, a famous beauty spot. Further on with the river surging over more rocks, Mike Neville crosses a suspension bridge, known as the Winch Bridge at Newbiggin. A panning view downstream is followed by general views of the paper boat from the old stone bridge at Middleton in Teesdale. The stone bridge has a number of extra 'tunnels' built through it, a feature designed to alleviate flooding. General views follow around the town which owes it prosperity to the London lead mining company established by a Quaker family. A public fountain erected by the employees of the lead mining company is featured in the film. The Non-conformist connection can be seen in the names of such streets as Wesley Terrace and Chapel Row. Middleton is proud of it's good housekeeping as portrayed by a street sign from Durham County Council acknowledging the award of 'Tidy Village Trophy'.

General views follow of the paper boat travelling downstream and Mike Neville walking along the rock and pebble strewn riverbank. The film cuts to a moor and grassland landscape .General views of Butterstone Plague Memorial which was a stone placed a few miles downstream where villages such as Cotherstone isolating themselves so as to be safe from the plague, traded dairy products with buyers from Barnard Castle by leaving the products at the stone. General views follow of Cotherstone village followed by views around the river near Barnard Castle. The film fade to views of a pharmaceutical factory in the town where antibiotics and other important drugs are made. This was one of first plants in the country to make penicillin and streptomycin. With the aid of some models Mike Neville gains some background information in penicillin production from one of the scientists at the plant. General views follow of the production line where dozens of small bottles are prepared to receive correct amounts of the antibiotic for clinical use. Barnard Castle town centre is featured next with its famous landmarks including the King's Head Hotel, where Charles Dickens once stayed. Other landmarks include the market cross market, Blagraves House where Oliver Cromwell is said to have been entertained. General views follow of the market and of the castle ruins above the river and also the nearby Bowes Museum built in the style of a French chateau with formal gardens. The next sequence shows the ruins of Egglestone Abbey and of the river passing under a bridge and through a rocky glen where the Tees and the river Greta meet. The old church of St. Mary at Wycliffe where the reformationist John Wycliffe's family have several memorials is shown followed by general views of the wooded area above the river which forms the edge of County Durham.

The paper boat is still going strong with general views of Winston stone bridge and then Piercebridge village. The George Hotel, which is famous for its "Old Grandfather Clock", (of the song) is featured which also has a ghost!

The busy town of Darlington is next on the journey showing traffic, crowds, and a policeman on point-duty. The town is famous for its railway connections but it also has one of the largest textile mills of its kind in the world [Patons and Baldwins]. Interior general views of wool being processed shows carding in the vast carding shed. The combing process uses distinctive circular machines for removing unwanted particles from the wool. On the flyer frames the wool is spun, followed by twisting from rows of bobbins. The wool is shown being dyed in huge tanks. More general views inside Darlington woollen mill showing wool being wound onto cones and then into balls. Mike Neville watches them being packaged for sale.

It is very different from the heavy industry normally associated with the mouth of the Tees, such as the Lackenby works of Dorman Long. Interior general views show the charging of a furnace,and ladles full of molten steel carried by cranes. The rolling mills manufacture steel girders which are cut to length by a gigantic circular saw. Back general views follow of girders that are going to become part of the new Forth Bridge being made by Cleveland Bridge Engineering Works. However trains are Darlington's most famous product and they are still making locomotives there. Various general views of North Road works follow showing engine sheds and a travelling shot over the top of the workshop gives a bird-eye view of the kind of repair and overhaul work that goes on. A diesel engine body is manoeuvred into position by an overhead crane. A shot follows looking up from an inspection pit. General views follow of engines nos D276 and 60804 in shed. Shots follow in the testing laboratories.

The paper boat now under Croft bridge, one of the oldest bridges across the Tees. A crossing at the river at this point has been in existence since at least 1400. The paper boat carries on down the Tees and on to Middleton-One-Row, a street of houses overlooking the river. The peaceful scene is disrupted by the noise of jet fighter aircraft from the nearby RAF Middleton St. George [now Durham Tees Valley Airport]. General views of stationary and air to air shots of planes.

General views follow of bridges at Yarm and of its famous viaduct then the High Street with traffic. One shot shows a model of Yarm 'castle' mounted near the front window of a town house. Yarm, which 100 years ago was an important port has now declined. Stockton gained what Yarm lost! General views show construction work along the Stockton quayside and various general views of the town, including the site of John Walker's shop, the man who invented friction matches. Stockton's high street is one of the widest in the country and there are general views of the regular large market with crowds of shoppers milling around the various stalls.

The film cuts to general views of Stockton racecourse showing crowds, bookies and race action.

The next section takes in views of the old Stockton and Darlington railway booking office which in 1825 booked the passengers for the first passenger railway in the world. A plaque on the wall commemorates the event. General views follow of the level crossing on the site of the original track, where George Stephenson watched the first rails laid in 1822. Traffic crosses the track followed by a  shot of the crossing sign. The camera cuts to a shot of the original track on display in Ropner Park followed by general views over the town.

The paper boat continues towards the final section of the river before meeting the sea. General views of the Tees marshalling yards [at Thornaby] where goods trains are organised and coupled together. A number of shots follow of yard operations and control systems.

Aerial shots follow of the Teesside area including the Newport Bridge and at the time of filming, the biggest open span in Britain. Other shots from the river include the North Tees Power Station. Mike Neville then visits ICI Billingham works, one of the largest and most famous chemical plants in the world. Various general views of the site show a complex network of pipes and chimneys. From here fertilisers, synthetic fuels and nylon are exported all over the world.

The Tees estuary is not a natural harbour but like the town of Middlesbrough it has been shaped to suit man's needs. General views of the Transporter Bridge and shipping in the river include the ships, the "City of Carlisle", the "Oreosa" the "Benmacdhui" and the "Lindisfarne". Also seen are Tees Towing Company tugs; the "Caedmon Cross", the "Hutton Cross", the "Erimus Cross" "the Golden Cross" and the "Danby Cross". The film ends with the paper boat entering the wilder waters of the sea and aerials of Teesmouth and the South Gare.

End credits: Narrated by Michael Neville

End credits: Research Jack Saltman

End credits: Written by Phil McDonnell

End credits: Sound by Ray Hole

End credits: Cameraman Fred Thomas A.R.P.S.

End credits: Film Editor Peter Dunbar

End credits: Directed by George Adams

End credits: Produced by Leslie Barrett and George Adams