Standing silhouetted on the skyline, the formidable Titan II floating crane looms over the construction site of a new dry dock at Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson shipyards. Workers wade in wet concrete, some 50,000 tons of which were used to build the dock. As an historical record this footage is strangely compelling, speaking to the forgotten future of a great age of shipbuilding on the Tyne.
Since Swan Hunters’ demise in 2007, the giant cranes that once dominated the Tyneside skyline have been slowly dismantled, the last towed to Indian shipyards in 2014. The iconic link to shipbuilding on the River Tyne has finally disappeared from the landscape. This film was shot by members of the Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association, probably one of the oldest cine clubs in the world, founded by James Cameron and friends in 1927. It is one of several productions that documented construction and launches at Swan Hunters, which may have been facilitated by Swan Hunters board member and former Newcastle ACA president, Peter G. Campbell.
North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Our collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of our films are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.