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
Doing Our Bit
Digging a way out of the 1930s Depression in the Cleveland Hills.
Charity appeal 1935 11 mins
From the collection of:
This is a fascinating and disturbing public appeal film on 1930s Depression era soup kitchens, communal work and youth camps in Middlesbrough and the Cleveland Hills, with regimes of unpaid labour and physical exercise (boxing, quoits and calisthenics). The ironstone miners work settlement on Heartbreak Hill near Boosbeck was set up by local Ormesby gentry, James and Ruth Pennyman, with assistance from folk revivalist and right-wing activist Rolf Gardiner.
Despite the mismatched film speed and sound, and the local blackface comedian, still a popular routine in the 1930s, this film has great contemporary resonance. In East Cleveland unemployment had hit a staggering 91 percent. The Cleveland Unemployed Miners Association scheme pictured was a politically ambiguous experiment, initiated by the militaristic Major James Pennyman and managed by Rolf Gardiner, who introduced international student groups to the camps. Their agenda was countered by the socialist, artistic ambitions of Ruth Pennyman. Left-wing composer Michael Tippett and Bauhaus-trained German artist and designer, Wilf Franks, were notable volunteers.
Public Information Films
Public Information Filler 1976 0 mins
David Prowse (the frame of Darth Vader) appears as the iconic Green Cross Code Man, heaping praise on a young GXC expert.
Public Information Filler 1945 1 mins
One of Richard Massingham’s most famous public information films, which lead to the ubiquitous mantra: "Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases".
Public Information Filler 1959 6 mins
A heartfelt cry on behalf of the world's litter-baskets.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1949 9 mins
Cartoon propaganda short sweetens the pill of post-war coal prices by promising jam tomorrow
1973 2 mins
Terrifying public information film presenting the horrific consequences of playing in or near rivers, ponds and other water hazards.
Morecambe and Wise - Be Wise Don't Drink and Drive Morecambe and Wise - Be Wise Don't Drink and Drive
Public Information Filler 1963 1 mins
Ernie tells Eric to ‘be wise’ and not drive home after their Christmas party
Promotional 1970 16 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Tuning into the biggest consumer market for television advertising in Britain with Trident TV.
Son of Plain - Advertising Man's Guide to Tyne Tees Television Son of Plain - Advertising Man's Guide to Tyne Tees Television
Promotional 1964 11 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Is comedian Clive Dunn the Don Draper of the British advertising world? Watch this imaginative Tyne Tees TV marketing film and decide.
Documentary 1981 32 mins Location: Middlesbrough
A film which shows the desire and dedication of those with disability to become integrated into the world of work.
News 1975 2 mins Location: Middlesbrough
A schoolboy choir sing the praises of Middlesbrough Football Club.
Home movie 1965 2 mins Silent Location: Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough’s Catholic children make their way to church to take part in their First Communion in the 1960s.
Amateur film 1964 3 mins Location: Middlesbrough
Now that’s magic! A young Paul Daniels performs with a flourish at the Middlesbrough Circle of Magicians.
Documentary 2020 11 mins
Searching for one of the last people to speak Gayle - a secret language the gay community were forced to invent during Apartheid.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2017 4 mins
A comedy-drama animation about two best friends growing up in the same world but experiencing it completely differently.
Drama 2019 14 mins
An African Pentecostal Pastor questions everything she believes after a life-changing event.
Drama 2018 8 mins
Samona Olanipekun explores the concepts of home, identity and belonging, from the starting point of the theme of globalisation.
Drama 2017 16 mins
Compelling story of a complex relationship between an imperious father and his son.
Documentary 2020 28 mins
Three African American fathers unravel the incomparable partnership of forgiveness and community.
About the archive
Know this place?
Do you recognise a place, building or location in this film?
Help us populate the Britain on Film map by spotting and plotting the street or location you know. This is a BFI project and anyone can help.
Go to our Britain on Film crowdsourcing site and contribute to our mapping mission – to identify locations within our archive films.Add a location