This film is part of Free

My River Tyne

An unusual mix of pastel, photos, film and line drawings conjures a story of the River Tyne, from its source at the Scottish border to its mouth at South Shields.

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1986 7 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


An eclectic mix of documentary footage, photographs and original artwork combine to tell a stirring story of the River Tyne as it flows from the Scottish borders into the North Sea at South Shields. Celebrated animator Sheila Graber weaves together industrial history shipyards, coal staithes, colliers, docks and fish quays - with fragments from a childhood as the daughter of a Tyne Pilot Master.

An independent short by Graber, My River Tyne is one of several animations that draw on her Geordie background. It is imbued with memories of a father, Captain GW Graber, who commanded the Tyne pilots that negotiated tides, channels and currents to guide ships on the river between 1948 and 1964. The film now serves as an elegy for the lost industrial culture on Tyneside. This was the first time the artist experimented with a combination of 16mm live action footage and animation, a hugely complex process without the aid of computers. The animation was part of a programme of work that won a coveted Tyneside Cinemas Tyne Award.