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
Holiday: Whitley Bay 1935
All set for a Spanish City stroll with hordes of fun-loving holiday makers at Whitley Bay in the 1930s.
From the collection of:
Bright and breezy Whitley Bay welcomes stylish sun seekers during a 1930s Race Week and revels in its fame as the ’Blackpool of the North East’. Filmed less than a year before the Jarrow March, this amateur film revisits the languor and exuberance of an escape to the Tyneside seaside town between the wars. Holiday makers forget their troubles at the Spanish City amusement park filled with exciting rides such as the figure-of-eight rollercoaster and Virginia Reel.
Opened on 14th May 1910, the Spanish City theatre and pleasure gardens symbolised seaside holidays and fairground romance to generations of Geordies. It was topped by an iconic ferro-concrete dome, of national significance as the largest freestanding dome in Britain after St Paul's Cathedral. The Virginia Reel ran from 1925 to the 50s and was built at Spanish City by its inventor Henry Elmer Riehl, who constructed his first ride in 1908 at Coney Island’s Luna Park, USA, the blueprint for all early amusement parks. Also pictured are fairground stalls featuring a macabre mechanical clown game and the latest marching Mickey Mouse toys, an early example of cartoon character merchandising by Walt Disney.