The 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.
This film is part of Free
Ace of Clubs
A celebration of the club that refuses to die a new ICI Synthonia Club building rises from the rubble of a World War Two bomb.
Cinemagazine 1957 8 mins
From the collection of:
A bomb hit the Synthonia Club in the early hours of the 7th July 1943 the theatre was in ruins. But as the Club Manager recalls in a rich Northern brogue, the bar luckily survived. This stirring film celebrates the 35 year history of a recreational club, known to ICI workers as the Ace of Clubs. A punchy collage of sports, including the Synners Football Club in action, introduces the resilient Billingham spirit as a new club building rises from the rubble of World War Two.
The short documentaries made by Billingham Film Unit reflect the rich communal sporting and recreational culture encouraged at ICI, centred on the Synthonia Club. The English striker and football manager Brian Clough worked as a junior clerk at ICI Casebournes cement works and joined the Billingham Synners FC, playing in the amateur Northern League during 1953. It has been said jokily that the international running track was handily located so that errant apprentices could run off a few pints of Camerons after a visit to the Synthonia. In 1961 a Times correspondent described the club as the largest public house in Britain.
Cinema Advertising Comes of Age
Advert 1941 5 mins
An amazingly complex cinema ad, disguised as a trailer for a film that never existed
Advert 1942 5 mins
Super soft-sell Persil ad, in the guise of a lush Technicolor essay on colour itself.
Advert 1935 4 mins
Pratfalls galore in rib-tickling commercial for Bush radios.
Advert 1940 3 mins Silent
This propaganda advert encourages housewives to use Persil, the powder that gives “longer life to your linens”.
Musical 1937 23 mins
A Co-op window dresser dreams of his mannequins coming to life in this musical fashion fantasy.
Advert 1935 4 mins Silent
“There is nothing you can beat about the Bush”: the wireless wows in this stylish ad for Bush Radio.
Promotional 1970 16 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Tuning into the biggest consumer market for television advertising in Britain with Trident TV.
Amateur film 1979 4 mins Location: Billingham
A river trip explores the industrial heartlands of Teesside in the 70s.
Amateur film 1966 5 mins Location: Billingham
A mysterious brew bubbles in the labs of an industrial complex on Teesside.
London Line Colour Series 2 - No. 71 - Burns Night London Line Colour Series 2 - No. 71 - Burns Night
Cinemagazine 1969 13 mins Silent Location: Billingham
Billingham's community 'Forum' leads the way in a colourful Burns night special promoting Britain overseas.
Documentary 1970 20 mins Location: Middlesbrough
A Jaguar driving reporter on a road to nowhere discovers that planning in 70s Teesside arouses strong emotions from locals and politicians alike.
Cinemagazine 1946 10 mins Location: Billingham
A cheery report on the successful Synthonia Club rugby team, ICI blood donors, and an irritable bus queue in Billingham.
Documentary 2020 11 mins
Searching for one of the last people to speak Gayle - a secret language the gay community were forced to invent during Apartheid.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2017 4 mins
A comedy-drama animation about two best friends growing up in the same world but experiencing it completely differently.
Drama 2019 14 mins
An African Pentecostal Pastor questions everything she believes after a life-changing event.
Drama 2018 8 mins
Samona Olanipekun explores the concepts of home, identity and belonging, from the starting point of the theme of globalisation.
Drama 2017 16 mins
Compelling story of a complex relationship between an imperious father and his son.
Documentary 2020 28 mins
Three African American fathers unravel the incomparable partnership of forgiveness and community.
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