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
Ship is Launched
The famous Swan Hunter shipyards on the Tyne grease the slipway for another stirring launch in the prosperous 1950s.
Industry sponsored film 1957 7 mins
From the collection of:
The clang, bustle and sparks of the welders pave the way for the stirring drama of a launch for the largest cargo liner working West African trade routes, built for the Palm Line. More than 1,600 ships were constructed at the Tyneside shipyards of Swan Hunters, including the famous Mauretania liner launched for Cunard, queen of the ocean and a transport marvel at the time.
In the 1960s Swan Hunters embraced the era of the mammoth tanker in Wallsend with the launch of the 253,000-ton Esso Northumbria. This was the largest ship ever built in Britain at the time, so large that it took up 2 berths and had to be launched side-on into the Tyne. The Glasgow Herald reported that, as the ship gathered speed, 1750 tons of drag chains and seven anchors were needed to keep her from forming an instant bridge to the other bank of the river. Since Swan Hunters demise in 2007, the giant cranes, which once dominated the Tyneside skyline, have been slowly dismantled, and towed to Indian shipyards in 2014. The iconic link to shipbuilding on the River Tyne has finally disappeared from the landscape.
Shipbuilding on Film
Building and Launch of the "Crepath" at Barnstaple Building and Launch of the "Crepath" at Barnstaple
Non-Fiction 1918 5 mins Silent Location: Barnstaple
Barnstaple's experimental concrete-hulled ship gets a visit from a jolly Italian admiral.
Industry sponsored film 1940 34 mins Location: Royal Albert Dock
There’s breathtaking footage of the London’s docks at their bustling peak in this informative film celebrating the work of the Port Of London Authority.
1935 25 mins Location: Barrow-In-Furness
Paul Rotha’s brilliant film of the building and launch of SS Orion from the shipyards of Barrow-in-Furness.
Non-Fiction 1912 2 mins Silent Location: Southampton
Two of the earliest surviving editions of the Topical Budget newsreel, released in the aftermath of the Titanic disaster.
1936 2 mins Silent
The iconic Cunard White Star liner leaves the shipyard of her birth and ventures seawards for the first time.
Government sponsored film 1940 10 mins
Shipwrights, plate-fitters and riveters support the war effort as their ships take majestic shape in this tour of British shipyards.
Newcastle upon Tyne
Advert 1957 1 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Little Andy takes the speedy way to sparkling good health in a zippy 50s cartoon advertisement for Andrews Liver Salts.
Promotional 1970 16 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Tuning into the biggest consumer market for television advertising in Britain with Trident TV.
Son of Plain - Advertising Man's Guide to Tyne Tees Television Son of Plain - Advertising Man's Guide to Tyne Tees Television
Promotional 1964 11 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Is comedian Clive Dunn the Don Draper of the British advertising world? Watch this imaginative Tyne Tees TV marketing film and decide.
Non-Fiction 1898 1 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
All the fun of the fair in this Victorian film, made in the early years of Newcastle's famous Hoppings
Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
A marching band leads the parades with the Boer War still raging
News 1970 17 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Being wheelchair users is not a barrier to these children doing slaloms or throwing javelins, gaining confidence and changing perceptions.
Documentary 2019 16 mins
Three years after their father passed, a family of four women come together through a series of phone calls spanning over three months.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2017 4 mins
A comedy-drama animation about two best friends growing up in the same world but experiencing it completely differently.
Drama 2018 8 mins
Samona Olanipekun explores the concepts of home, identity and belonging, from the starting point of the theme of globalisation.
Drama 2017 16 mins
Compelling story of a complex relationship between an imperious father and his son.
Documentary 2020 28 mins
Three African American fathers unravel the incomparable partnership of forgiveness and community.
Music video 2019 8 mins
A conceptual film following musical artist Jords’ quest to serendipity. The Tree of Life’ is the cornerstone of the film as he battles to triumph through grief.
About the archive
Know this place?
Do you recognise a place, building or location in this film?
Help us populate the Britain on Film map by spotting and plotting the street or location you know. This is a BFI project and anyone can help.
Go to our Britain on Film crowdsourcing site and contribute to our mapping mission – to identify locations within our archive films.Add a location