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
Time on the Wing
Everything you always wanted to know about North East homing pigeons (but were afraid to ask).
Sponsored film 1969 33 mins
From the collection of:
This strangely compelling film follows the lofty ambitions of pigeon fanciers and racers affiliated to the Up North Combine. A culture with a mythical status in the North East, pigeon crees cluster like brightly painted Wild West shacks from Skinningrove to the Scotswood Road. A cross-channel race is a tense blue-sky sport of watch and wait for dedicated owners and the “toss” of thousands of pigeons is an awesome sight (unless you have a Hitchcockian fear of birds).
This film was commissioned by Vaux Breweries, based in Sunderland from 1837 to 1999, who sponsored the International Open Vaux-Usher Gold Tankard race from Beauvais, France, in the 1960s and 70s. The Up North Combine was founded in 1905 to handle the logistics of long distance races for an increasing number of clubs and federations in the North East. The volume of pigeon traffic on the railways from mining districts in Northumberland was heavy enough in 1905 to begin running pigeon specials during the racing season. Pigeons became known as ‘the poor man’s racehorse’ as the popularity of raising birds grew in working class culture during the last third of the 19th century, particularly in mining districts.
Making and Doing
Cinemagazine 1970 3 mins
A snazzy intro to the ancient textile-dyeing technique taking the 70s fashion world by storm.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1945 1 mins
A wartime family look on in amazement as their old clothes offer useful advice on how to make their clothing coupons go further.
Promotional 1974 34 mins Location: River Aln
Quiet reflection on angling and the craft of elegant cane rods from the famous Hardy Brothers of Alnwick.
News 1974 9 mins Location: Rostrevor
Spend a day with Sister Dolores and discover the creative potential of the County Down coastline.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1965 3 mins Location: Wakefield
A once common object in many households becomes transformed into a quirky dancing troupe in this simple homespun animation.
Current affairs 1965 2 mins Location: Plymouth
Former shipwright turns his talents to model-making.
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.
Amateur film 1988 13 mins Location: Darlington
A day in the life of the Lily in Darlington washing the town's dirty laundry.
Amateur film 1979 6 mins Location: Darlington
A promotional film to encourage motorcycle safety and training in Darlington.
Advert 1965 1 mins Silent Location: Darlington
There are bargains aplenty for Jean Bartlett of Darlington at her local Co-op in this upbeat 1960s ad
Non-Fiction 1925 19 mins Silent Location: Darlington
A grand parade of locomotives to celebrate 100 years of railways and the world’s first passenger trains
Amateur film 1929 4 mins Silent Location: Darlington
A full size replica of Robert Stephenson’s world famous locomotive, The Rocket, steams up a 1920s crowd at the North Road Works in Darlington.
Travelogue 1907 9 mins Silent
A grand tour of Japan’s major cities, offering scenic views of the streets and daily life.
Interest film 1913 3 mins Silent
This ethnographic film offers a brief overview of the traditional culture of the Ainu, an ethnic minority in Japan.
Documentary 1905 4 mins
The performance of a masked dancer is followed by a scene from a kendo match, contrasting grace and ferocity.
Non-Fiction 1904 2 mins Silent
In a school gymnastic festival, boys and girls demonstrate their physical rigour through exercise and dance.
Interest film 1909 5 mins Silent
A vibrant festival with parades of fishermen and geisha celebrates the 50th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama Port.
1912 5 mins Silent
Pathécolor’s mechanical stencil colouring is put to good use illustrating a festival at an ancient shrine.