This film is part of Free

Billingham & Gastritis

An alluring ICI travelogue proves to Cockney sceptics a real life wonderland awaits up north.

Travelogue 1957 25 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


The strange looking-glass logic of Alice in Wonderland introduces an enticing ICI travelogue that challenges the old “grim up north” cliche. The film delivers views of the unspoilt Cleveland hills and bustling market at Stockton-on-Tees, quaint traditional bonnets in scenic, seaside Staithes and haymaking in remote Weardale. At Newcastle’s famous Town Moor Hoppings the show booth Belles of the Bourbon beckon amongst switchbacks and flashing fairground lights.

By the 1950s the ICI Billingham Film Unit were using travelogues to encourage potential employees into a stimulating future with the chemicals industry on Teesside. But it’s unlikely the unusual title worked to convey this spirited promise of natural beauty and heritage in North East England.