Rewinding The Welfare State: A Social History of the North East on Film

A North East Film Archive & Teesside University screening programme
Touring the north east: September - December 2019

The North East Film Archive has joined forces with Dr. Ben Lamb, a Teesside University research academic who has curated a series of films which show the impact of the Welfare State on the region’s social development over the past 100 years.

Dr. Lamb has partnered with the Archive to launch Rewinding the Welfare State, a touring programme of screenings which is part of the Archive’s current North East on Film project.

Rewinding the Welfare State features local news reports and television documentaries, trade union campaigns and community-made films. These will be screened at venues across the north east between September and December.

The aim of the programme is to show the impact of the welfare state from the 1920s to today.

Dr. Lamb, of Teesside University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law, said:

“Many of these films haven’t been seen since they were first made and are part of the extensive collections at North East Film Archive. By reliving the courageous character of north east communities, audiences at the screenings in the tour will experience how grassroots initiatives designed to challenge national inequality have improved the wellbeing of many people.”

As part of the screenings, the audience will be invited to share their own thoughts as the journey ‘from cradle to grave’ is explored, and hear how access to healthcare, housing, education, social security, and pensions has changed over the years.

Depending on each location, each event will be different and adapted to reference events of particular importance to each area.

Dr. Lamb said:

“We will look at life before the welfare state, turning the clock back to the Jarrow Crusade as well as considering its legacy and the people who took part in the original march. Memories will be shared ofbringing up children in the 1940s and experiences of having children in the post-war period. The educational opportunities and training that has been made available to young people will be explored, along with developments in housing, from slum clearance and life on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’,to high rise living.”

Other areas that will be highlighted include industrial development, welfare benefits and the prejudice experienced by people ‘on the dole’.

Julie Ballands, Delivery Manager of the Archive’s North East On Film project said:

“Teaming up with Ben is an incredible opportunity for the Archive to dig deeper into the material we preserve in our vaults and to present these films in a new and exciting way. The films we have selected tell the story of the north eastover the last 100+ years and it will be brilliant to explore this history with our audiences over the next few months.”

Dr. Lamb’s research looks at the representations of marginalised communities within the media, wider culture, and the arts, with the aim of helping to improve social integration policy.

Rewinding The Welfare State is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Teesside University.


Newcastle upon Tyne
Carpathia Room, Discovery Museum
Sunday 22nd December, 1.00pm

Forum Cinema
Tuesday 24th September, 7.30pm

Cleveland and Teesside History Society
Stockton Library
Thursday 3rd October, 6.00pm
£5 - Booking Essential
For more information, or to book a place, please contact Stockton 
Reference Library on 01642 528079 or email:

Cleveland and Teesside History Society
Curve Lecture Theatre, Teesside University
Sunday 13th October, 11.00am

Jarrow Local History Group
Jarrow Focus
Wednesday 16th October, 10.00am
Ticket link TBC

Tees Together
Thursday 7th November, 5.30pm
Ticket link TBC

Newcastle upon Tyne
North East Labour History Society
Star and Shadow Cinema
Sunday 17th November, 2.00pm

Barnard Castle
The Bowes Museum
Saturday 23rd November, 2.15pm

South Hylton Local History Society
The Tansy Centre
Monday 16th December, 7.15pm
Ticket link TBC

Information and booking details on all of our forthcoming events can be found at our events page HERE