This film is part of Free

Manchester Commerce

A Tees-built ship embraces new surveillance technology on its sea trial.

Industry sponsored film 1963 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


The Manchester Commerce heads downriver to commence sea trials, passing the solitary South Gare lighthouse at the mouth of the Tees. The captain is particularly pleased with his CCTV equipment for remote surveillance of the deck. The cargo ship was built by Smith’s Dock Co. Ltd at South Bank, Middlesbrough, which was the last large scale shipbuilders on the Tees. The 60s were a lean period for the shipyard until Manchester Liners placed their first order in 1963.

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.