This film is part of Free

Construction of a Graving Dock

A construction project looks to the future at a Swan Hunter’s Tyneside shipyard in the 1930s.

Amateur film 1935 19 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


Standing silhouetted on the skyline, the formidable Titan II floating crane looms over the construction site of a new dry dock at Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson shipyards. Workers wade in wet concrete, some 50,000 tons of which were used to build the dock. As an historical record this footage is strangely compelling, speaking to the forgotten future of a great age of shipbuilding on the Tyne.

Since Swan Hunters’ demise in 2007, the giant cranes that once dominated the Tyneside skyline have been slowly dismantled, the last towed to Indian shipyards in 2014. The iconic link to shipbuilding on the River Tyne has finally disappeared from the landscape. This film was shot by members of the Newcastle and District Amateur Cinematographers Association, probably one of the oldest cine clubs in the world, founded by James Cameron and friends in 1927. It is one of several productions that documented construction and launches at Swan Hunters, which may have been facilitated by Swan Hunters board member and former Newcastle ACA president, Peter G. Campbell.