A Swan Hunters launch takes place at the Neptune Yard in Walker in the last decades of British shipbuilding. HMS Exeter slides briskly into the Tyne after the wife of the Secretary of State for Defence performs the traditional christening of this British Navy ship, a ceremony reserved for women of rank since the mid-19th century.
Swan Hunters became part of British Shipbuilders on 1 July 1977 following the nationalisation of the industry, working almost exclusively on MOD contracts until its closure in May 1993. The business had launched ships that became famous worldwide, including in 1906 the Cunard passenger liner Mauretania, “queen of the ocean”, which held the Blue Riband for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic for 22 years. Swan Hunters regularly commissioned their own films and video of ship construction, launches and sea trials from the 1950s until around 1981, many from Newcastle-based Turners Film Productions.
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.