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 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
From the collection of:
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.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1964 2 mins
Miners' safety training - marked by stylish animation and gallows humour.
Advert 1935 42 mins Silent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
Coal, between the world wars, makes the industrialised world go round and Cory Bros & Co Ltd, with collieries in south Wales and oil refineries across the globe, is a major player.
Industry sponsored film 1978 7 mins Location: Blaenavon
Memories of Blaenavon Colliery, Monmouthshire, as it nears its end.
Documentary 1954 18 mins
Elegiac sponsored film imploring viewers to "allow the sun to penetrate the haze of ignorance" and relieve British cities of pollution.
Advert 1975 1 mins
Deliriously kitsch recruitment ad for the implausibly glamorous world of coalmining.
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.
Travelogue 1907 9 mins Silent
A grand tour of Japan’s major cities, offering scenic views of the streets and daily life.
Interest film 1913 3 mins Silent
This ethnographic film offers a brief overview of the traditional culture of the Ainu, an ethnic minority in Japan.
Documentary 1905 4 mins
The performance of a masked dancer is followed by a scene from a kendo match, contrasting grace and ferocity.
Non-Fiction 1904 2 mins Silent
In a school gymnastic festival, boys and girls demonstrate their physical rigour through exercise and dance.
Interest film 1909 5 mins Silent
A vibrant festival with parades of fishermen and geisha celebrates the 50th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama Port.
1912 5 mins Silent
Pathécolor’s mechanical stencil colouring is put to good use illustrating a festival at an ancient shrine.