This film is part of Free

Billingham Week 1963

Slick strictly ballroom dance routines and spooky childrens fancy dress lure Billingham folk to a modern town centre in the 1960s.

Amateur film 1963 21 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


An amateur film revels in the charm and strangeness of the first Billingham Week festival, designed to encourage shoppers into the newly-built town centre precinct. A band plays for a lively night crowd at the Billingham Arms Hotel where fabulous frocks, virtuoso ballroom and 60s Twist dance routines are on show one of many engagements for the festival queen. The children also get a chance to dress up in their weirdest outfits for a fancy dress competition.

The events of Billingham Week were filmed by the Billingham & District Cine Club in 1963 and 64. One of Britains post-war new towns, the prosperous Billingham Urban District Council developed a new traffic-free shopping centre in the 1950s and early 1960s that boasted a spiral pram ramp, pedestrian tunnels and underfloor heating, officially opened in 1964. To attract shoppers away from their traditional Stockton and Middlesbrough destinations, a festival and weekly Saturday entertainments were held at the precinct brass bands, fashion shows, folk singers, and street performers events that would lead to the first Billingham Folklore Festival in 1965