This film is part of Free

Bridges on the River Tyne

A pleasure flight from Newcastle Airport wings its way along the Tyne in the 1950s.

Amateur film 1957 5 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


This pleasure flight into the past from Newcastle Airport captures fascinating aerial views of the Tyne from South Shields and Tynemouth piers to the rural river at Warden Bridge near Hexham. Cruising over Newcastle’s Race Week Hoppings, the plane sweeps westward over a shipyard-strewn Tyne, mapping iconic bridges, Armstrong’s vast Elswick Works (still producing weapons of war), regiments of West End terraces, and the smoking Dunston Power Station B.

The grainy aerial footage was shot by amateur filmmaker Milton Newton from Tyneside. It surveys an urban landscape that has radically changed since the 50s through de-industrialisation. Dunston Power Station B, a unique design in the world at the time, was built in 1932 and demolished in 1986 for the construction of the Metro Centre. The desire to see and represent landscapes from above has always been strong, with viewpoints snatched from kites and hot-air balloons to present day drones and satellite-based remote sensing. The first aerial movie – a three minute twenty eight second silent film – was made over Rome on 24 April 1909, the plane piloted by Wilbur Wright.