This film is part of Free

End of the Pier

In the dark days of the 1980s a lyrical documentary captures the poignancy of piers and changing fortunes in Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

Documentary 1986 26 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


A melancholy documentary captures down and out-of-season pleasures and subdued gentility at a select seaside town on the wintry North East coast. Lulled by a soundtrack of waves, time passes slowly for the men who bait and fish from the Victorian pier, scan the barren beach with metal detectors, and harvest sea coal in the cruel shadow of the distant steel works. The Realpolitik of Thatchers Britain is just beneath the surface of this lyrical 1980s portrait of Saltburn.

This independent film was produced and directed by David Eadington together with the Newcastle-based Amber Film Collective during the economic recession of the early 1980s. It was made under the auspices of the 1982 ACTT Workshop Declaration with funding from the newly created Channel 4 Television, which supported many groups working on politically and socially engaged film-making. As a student of Teesside College of Art, Eadington was influenced by the documentary work of his lecturers, Murray Martin and Graham Denman, founder members of Amber Films in 1969, with its commitment to record working-class life in the North of England.