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 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 1968 1 mins Location: Belfast
How can professionals get ahead in 1960s Belfast? Find out in this muzak-filled public information film.
Public Information Filler 1978 mins
Dusty the kangaroo catches a shadowy figure in the act of dumping an old mattress in this campaigning cartoon
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1948 9 mins
Long before the ‘Charley Says’ campaign of the 1970s and ‘80s, another cartoon Charley was used to demystify the newly created NHS.
Public Information Filler 1943 10 mins
TB or not TB – that is the question travelling x-ray screening programmes are out to answer on a large scale
Public Information Filler 1949 1 mins
Another of Richard Massingham’s snappy public information fillers finds the oafish everyman’s personal hygiene in question again.
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.
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.
News 1975 2 mins Location: Middlesbrough
A schoolboy choir sing the praises of Middlesbrough Football Club.
Amateur film 1957 9 mins Silent Location: Middlesbrough
An affectionate portrait of life both sides of the border in a thriving Middlesbrough of the 50s.
Advert 1985 2 mins
Take a fighter jet, a Top Gun pilot with sunglasses and a brand new SAAB 900 and you have a sure-fire vehicle to launch a Hollywood career.
Promotional 2019 10 mins
A wandering warrior dreams of a new form of expression, in this promo for UNKLE’s album The Road: Part II / Lost Highway Pt. II directed by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones.
1935 16 mins
A rare glimpse of 1930s London in colour: the Thames has never looked lovelier.
Advert 1946 1 mins Silent
Life is looking up! The war is over and the “Corona” Man can visit his “Corona” families once more, door-to-door.
Advert 1962 0 mins Location: Rhyl
Cinema advertisement for Marine Lake & Ocean Beach, Rhyl, a popular destination for crowds set on a day's fun on free rides.
Local Cinema Advertisements - Blaenau Ffestiniog and Merthyr Local Cinema Advertisements - Blaenau Ffestiniog and Merthyr
Advert 1942 7 mins Silent Location: Blaenau Ffestiniog
Who could deny these advertising claims: "Attractive hair is the ambition of every woman", and "Your family will enjoy Lincoln potatoes"?
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