This film is part of Free

M.V. Ceres Built by Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, Haverton Hill

The Tyne river front is at its bustling peak in this record of sea trials for the Ceres container ship.

Industry sponsored film 1951 14 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


All ship shape for its sea trials, the MV Ceres sets off on a grim December morning, headed for the North Sea. The crew endure violent gales during tests, before returning to the Tyne for a formal handover of the ship. This is a richly fascinating record of the still thriving industrial life on the River Tyne in the early 1950s, now largely vanished. The film includes shots of the towering river front ‘hammerhead’ crane, built for North Eastern Marine Engineering in 1909.

This film was probably commissioned from Turners production house by North East Marine Engineering (NEM). Although the ship was built at Haverton Hill on the Tees, the ship’s turbine engines and boilers were constructed and installed at NEM on Tyneside. This explains the early establishing shots of the NEM works and landmark crane at Hadrian Riverside, Wallsend, after close-ups of the ship’s on-deck machinery. Of only 42 giant cantilever cranes built worldwide since 1905, this was the earliest example in England, and was Grade II* listed until removed. Some have noted the structural resemblance to sculptor Antony Gormley’s contemporary monument ‘Angel of the North’, located near Gateshead.