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
Billingham & Gastritis
An alluring ICI travelogue proves to Cockney sceptics a real life wonderland awaits up north.
From the collection of:
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.