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.
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Launch of the "Athelsultan" Built to the Order of Athel Lines Ltd, London by Smith Docks Ltd, Southbank-on-Tees
Grandeur, excitement and pride for a Middlesbrough crowd at the Smiths Dock launch of a ship for the Sugar Line.
Industry sponsored film 1950 9 mins Silent
From the collection of:
The launch of the Athelsultan is the occasion for great celebration at the small Smiths Dock shipyard on the South Bank of the Tees in Middlesbrough. The camera lingers on the sea of faces, capturing the excitement of the crowds and workers, who push forward to admire the ship rather than the fur-clad guests of the Athel Line sponsors.
The Athelsultan operated on the Sugar Line routes, a company created by Tate & Lyle, West Indies Sugar Company Ltd. and the United Molasses Company in 1951, of which the wealthy Athel Line was a subsidiary. Smith’s Dock Co. Ltd. opened their “family oriented” shipyard at South Bank in 1909 and formed a strong association with the whaling trade, amongst other clients, building whale-catchers for Christian Salvesen from 1912 until the 1950s. In the 50s and 60s sons still followed fathers onto the docks, and workers lived in communities close to the shipyard. No surprise that there was an emotional launch for the last ship, North Islands, in 1986.
Shipbuilding on Film
Ship is Launched
Industry sponsored film 1957 7 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
The famous Swan Hunter shipyards on the Tyne grease the slipway for another stirring launch in the prosperous 1950s.
Non-Fiction 1910 8 mins Silent
The construction and launch of the S.S. Olympic, the sister ship of the Titanic.
Tall Ships: Newcastle Maritime Festival 86
Amateur film 1986 8 mins Silent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
The Queen visits a magnificent maritime spectacle on the Tyne as Newcastle hosts the Cutty Sark Tall Ships regatta.
Royal Visit to Barrow and Launch of HMS Dominion (1903)
Non-Fiction 1903 5 mins Silent Location: Barrow-In-Furness
Princess Louise comes to Edwardian Barrow in Furness to christen the battleship HMS Dominion.
Ship There Was
Documentary 1952 25 mins
A heart-warming tale about a Tyneside shipyard worker who dreams of a cruise on the luxury ocean liner he helps to build.
Workforce of Scott & Co. Shipyard, Greenock (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 2 mins Silent Location: Greenock
Unruly shipworkers defy direction from Mitchell and Kenyon's showmen partners.
The Disabled and Work
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.
College Church May Procession
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.
Middlesbrough Football Song Sung by School Choir
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.
Son of the Man from South Bank
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.
River Tees Trip
Amateur film 1979 4 mins Location: Billingham
A river trip explores the industrial heartlands of Teesside in the 70s.
Non-Fiction 1898 1 mins Silent
The Victorian great and good mark the passing of a political titan
Parade of Troops with Band and Crowds Following
Non-Fiction 1900 2 mins Silent
For Britons during the Boer War, a welcome opportunity to support the troops - and march alongside them
Workers Leaving Work at Vickers
Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins Location: Barrow-In-Furness
Factory gate glimpses at - we think - Barrow-in-Furness
Non-Fiction 1898 1 mins Silent Location: Worthing
Worthing waves at us in this mesmerising early film
The Biter Bit
Comedy 1898 1 mins Silent
Film's first joke? A fresh take on an old prank.
Opening of the Kiel Canal
Non-Fiction 1895 0 mins Silent
This was one of a series of actuality films made by the Victorian pioneer Birt Acres during 1895. The film is thought to have been shot on June 20, on the occasion of the opening of the Kiel Canal by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Acres shot other films at the same time, but they have not survived.
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