Film ID:
NEFA 20928



Visitor Tabs


This is the first of  three documentaries in the Your Heritage series produced by Tyne Tees Television on the region's three main rivers, originally broadcast on 6 December 1962. This programme looks at the River Tyne from source to mouth, exploring both the industrial and urban life of the river as well as its historic and rural aspects.

The film opens with a view of Mike Neville standing on the Swing Bridge in Newcastle looking down river. Mike's voice-over describes the history of  this location as an important crossing point. Overhead views from the Tyne Bridge show the Quayside Market, part of which is known locally as Paddy's Market, with ships moored alongside, including the cargo ship Hudson Bay. Various general views follow of market stalls, stall holders and Sunday shoppers.

The other side of commerce is seen in the new Winthrop Laboratories complex at Fawdon, where they make popular over-the counter medicines as well as important drugs for the medical profession. A still aerial photo shows the factory complex followed by general views of the production line involved in producing Andrews Liver Salts.

The river is more commonly associated with shipbuilding and coal. General views of shipyards at Wallsend and the "Esso Edinburgh" in the slips at the High Walker yard at Vickers-Armstrongs. Such ships as this mean big business for the yards and hard work for the men. A long shot across the river shows the launch of the "Esso Edinburgh". The tug 'Ashbrooke' works hard to secure the position of the ship.

General views of a pithead and coal conveyors at the Rising Sun Colliery in Wallsend. General views of steam-hauled coal trucks arriving at Whitehill Coal Staithes, where the trucks are upturned in a 'tippler' to discharge their coal into hoppers. An empty truck runs by gravity out of the unloading shed, and again by gravity runs into a siding where the braking of the truck is done by a man chasing the truck to apply a brake.The coal discharged from their wagons is then loaded onto a ship.

Further down river there are views of the Shields ferry, which plies between North and South Shields. General views of the ferry 'Tynemouth' an old-style boat with smoke bellowing from its funnel. A travelling shot shows the huge bulk of the oil tanker 'Voluta'.  General views of other river activity, followed by general views of the mouth of the river at Tynemouth, the end of the journey downstream. Overlooking the estuary at Tynemouth is the Admiral Lord Collingwood's Monument. The camera panning right to left across the cliff top showing Tynemouth Priory and Castle and neighbouring beach.

The film returns to Mike Neville standing on the Swing Bridge. He turns his attention up river, the far bank with the Castle Keep visible in the background. His voice-over describes how the North and the South Tyne rise. Pan across the Tyne with a view towards the High Level Bridge.

Next there are views of Kielder Castle and forest. A sign reads "Kielder Working Men's Club Affiliated". Inside the club a pint is pulled and served to Mike Neville at the bar. A few women and men are dancing the "Twist" while mostly men look on from the tables.

The next sequence shows forestry work and piles of cut timber, woodmen chopping timber by hand and heavy horses dragging loads away.

Peaceful and scenic views of the South Tyne at Crossfell, followed by general views of the dramatic Ashgill Force cascade. This is followed by views of countryside through Garrigill towards the highest market town in England - Alston. General views of the market cross at Alston erected by former Lord Mayor of London, Sir William Stephenson. A panning shot across the river right to left reveals the railway station. The railway is under threat of closure and the station looks derelict with debris strewn across sidings and the fabric of the building looking neglected. Aerials of Langley viaduct and general views of the village. A man in the village sits next to a wall reading a newspaper in the sunshine.

General views of Featherstone Castle, a border fortress mentioned in Sir Walter Scott's epic poem "Marmion".

An angler casts his line in the South Tyne at Haltwhistle. General views of the town follow as pedestrians cross the main street. A little girl runs over cobbles along a narrow lane. A man with a walking stick puts his hand on a wall for support as he negotiates a slight incline in another of the towns lanes. Views of a church and a view across the countryside to the North Tyne at Falstone. General views of the village as a group of children walk along the pavement towards the camera.  Mike Neville walks past old cottages and stops to look at the old church and churchyard where the oldest gravestone belongs to a blacksmith. He walks through the churchyard and enters the church. An old runic cross lies on the floor.

General views of Falstone Farm House, which incorporates an old pele tower. Marks on the old stones are attributed to border warriors sharpening their spears. A panning shot over open countryside are, according to the commentary, where the ancient castle of Tarset and Dally lie. General views follow across to Bellingham church and village, the church having a rough time during the Border wars. The churchyard has many graves of young people who perished during a smallpox epidemic. A view follows of the main road through the village as traffic goes by.

General views follow of the South Tyne at Haydon Bridge while on the North Tyne we see the Sutty Row Colliery at work, a surface drift mine. Men fill a hopper which weighs the coal before being poured into sacks. The sacks are loaded onto a lorry. Sutty Row was one of few privately-owned mines in the country.

General views of the North Tyne at Wark and views of nearby Chipchase Castle, a famous feudal stronghold. Mike Neville walks across a field towards the castle. He approaches the main door and looks up at the coat of arms above the doorway. A high angle shot from the roof of the castle shows Mike walking round the perimeter road. He walks through the old pele tower looking at the stonework and finds an old well. He climbs steep stone steps in the keep. The camera pans around the walls of the keep and up to the roof. Further round the camera picks out the entrance to a small chapel. He leaves the keep and follows the perimeter road around the castle again. 

A panning shot left to right from the roof of the castle across countryside fades to the paper mill at Fourstones, where they make paper that is uneconomic for larger concerns to deal with. A man puts paper for pulping into a large vat. Rags and other prepared material for pulping are seen being put into another vat. Views show paper coming off the production line onto rollers,steam rising of the new paper. The mill also produces large quantities of blotting paper. A roll of new paper is taken off a roller by men using a special hoist. A woman counts large sheets of cut paper.

General views follow of Chollerford Bridge and a panning shot right to left of the bridge shows a sign post to Newcastle. The camera continues to pan left revealing the George Hotel, a well-known watering-hole. This fades to views of nearby Chesters Roman Fort with a group of schoolgirls exploring the Roman remains.

General views of Heavensfield, the site of the battle in 683AD involving King Oswald of Northumberland. A cross with a plaque at it's base commemorates the battle.

General views of the confluence of the Tynes at Warden, under Warden Hill are followed by a shot of the multi-arched bridge across the river leading into Hexham. Hexham is a historic market town with an ancient abbey, famous for links with St. Wilfred and is also where the Saxon Kings of Northumbria were said to be crowned.  A long shot across a field shows the town dominated by its abbey. A high angle shot across the market place gives a view of market day and the abbey just across the square. General views show shoppers taking in the sights and sounds of the market. A view follows of one of the fortified gates leading into the town centre. Mike Neville enters the abbey and stops to look at a seventh century Saxon chalice in its special display case.He examines the Frith Stool - a Saxon sanctuary seat decorated with Celtic patterns. He looks at the Night Stair, with its gently worn stone steps, and looks at some old stone carvings at its foot, he then explores St Wilfrid's Crypt.

The film fades to general views of Corstopitum Roman Camp and the extensive Roman remains showing how the Romans lived. Nearby the town of Corbridge, with a town sign which outlines its Saxon and Roman heritage. The film shows its old church in the market place, with the pele tower nearby. The river flows strongly beneath the arched bridge. A general view looks downstream.

The film changes to show a steam boat travelling along the Tyne, chugging out thick smoke, and general views of the Scotswood Chain Bridge back in Newcastle with Vickers-Armstrong factory on the banks. Shots of the river's strong tidal flow. This is followed by views of ships on the river. There is a long shot of the five Newcastle bridges "that link the river banks and river people". The films ends with Mike Neville standing on the Swing Bridge looking along the river.

End Credit: Narrated by Michael Neville

End Credit: Research Tony Kysh

End Credit: Written by Tony Hutchinson

End Credit: Soundman Ray Hole

End Credit: Cameraman Fred Thomas

End Credit: Fim Editor Peter Dunbar

End Credit: Director Tommy Tomlinson

End Credit: Produced by Leslie Barrett and George Adams