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.
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Billingham Wharf and Official Opening of the Coal Hydrogenation Petrol Plant, ICI Billingham, by James Ramsay MacDonald M.P.
A political giant takes a trip by electric buggy into the heart of an extraordinary chemical town at Billingham.
Cinemagazine 1935 9 mins Silent
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From the smoky, industrious Billingham Wharf to a vast new oil production plant, this film documents a brave new world at ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) on Teesside in the 1930s. Fresh from his resignation as Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald and some ICI top brass ride an electric buggy to the heart of the giant Oil Works for the official opening ceremony. A slow, stately phantom ride, popular in early cinema, captures the awesome scale of this new chemical town.
ICI at Billingham was already the largest factory in the British Empire by 1930, totalling over 1,000 acres. The new Oil Works expansion was predicated on a future war, built to provide a home-grown source of oil, immune from U-boat attack. In February 1931 Aldous Huxley toured this extraordinary industrial site, a mass of steaming and sizzling steel cylinders, towers and pipes. Huxleys visit to ICI (whose Chairman was Sir Alfred Mond at the time) is thought to have inspired his classic dystopian novel Brave New World, released the next year, in which the character Mustapha Mond is the Resident World Controller for Western Europe.
Coal on Film
Documentary 1950 36 mins Silent Location: Featherstone
Absorbing overview of coalmining in the early years of nationalisation.
Non-Fiction 1930 2 mins Silent Location: Durham
Billowing banners and copious crowds throng Durham for the annual Miners' Gala.
Current affairs 1984 6 mins Location: Stafford
With a crowd of over 2,000 and a pop star like reception for Arthur Scargill, the NUM conference in Sheffield is a rallying cry from the striking miners.
Documentary 1935 5 mins
A filmic speed date with the multifaceted rock celebrates its talents and virtues in the days before its shortcomings soured the relationship.
Documentary 1989 46 mins Location: Loughor
From Tenerife to Treorchy: Jack Bellamy’s tribute to the canary, the little yellow songster that saved so many miners’ lives.
Documentary 1975 14 mins
A neat coalition between the Keep Britain Tidy Group and the National Coal Board aims to inspire colliery cleanliness.
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.
Industry sponsored film 1960 24 mins
A new luxury express is put through its paces. This film looks over the shoulders of the select band of craftsmen, engineers and operators, whose combined skills try to ensure that a train journey is a delightful experience.
Documentary 1973 15 mins
British Transport Films record the varied daily lives of their neighbours as seen from the high roof of their building in London’s Marylebone.
Travelogue 1953 21 mins Location: York
The Stationmaster at York guides us through a typical day, from dawn to dusk.
Industry sponsored film 1957 20 mins
Illustrating the efficiency of express freight trains, and how they link manufacturers with their customers at the other end of Britain.
Documentary 1952 30 mins
Examining a day in the life of what was then the busiest railway system in the world – British Railways.
Industry sponsored film 1957 9 mins
A 1957 film examining the future for British Railways, and some of the opportunities provided by a new modernisation plan.
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