This film is part of Free

Todd Yard Docks

A memorable glimpse at the industrial docks and timber yards of West Hartlepool in the 30s.

Home movie 1937 4 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


At the dockside West Hartlepool timber merchants known locally as Todd’s Yard, the bowler-hatted George Horsley is pictured amidst acres of log piles with his favourite carpenter, who saws pit props by hand, destined for the Durham coalfields. Misty panoramic views of the seaside docks take in bustling railways, shipyards and a rare glimpse of the coal staithes in Victoria Dock.

George Horsley was the son of Mathew Horsley, a local river pilot who bought shares in sailing vessels and then branched out becoming a steamship owner. The Horsleys were also timber merchants and coal exporters, counting shipyard owner William Gray amongst their distinguished friends. The filmmaker is probably George’s younger brother Neville Horsley, who produced many home movies of important local events the family attended such as the opening of West Hartlepool Airport, also featured on BFI Player.