Rivers of steel still flowed through the famous South Bank Dorman Long works on the River Tees in 1961, when this richly informative industrial film was made. But there’s little sign of toiling workers amidst the deafening roar of blast furnaces and machinery at the Lackenby works near Middlesbrough, constructed optimistically after World War Two.
Dorman Long constructed many of the most iconic bridges of the twentieth century including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the New Tyne Bridge, and Tees Newport Bridge in Middlesbrough. The film (missing some credits) was commissioned from John Byrd Film Productions, which specialised in documentaries for steel and engineering industries from the 1950s to 1980s, several filmed in the searing heat and highly dangerous environment endured by steel workers. The commentary is voiced by Bob Danvers-Walker in the perky, patriotic tone familiar from his broadcasts on Pathe News cinema newsreels during World War Two.
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.