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.
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A Mecca for fun – Whitley Bay still thrills the holiday crowds in the 50s
Amateur film 1950 10 mins Silent
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In 1959 an advert declared Whitley Bay “A Mecca of Pleasure and Gaiety… ”. This rich Kodachrome cinematography captures a bygone era for the fashionable seaside town in ice cream colours. The bracing beach, with carousel, swing boats and Punch and Judy for the children, is just steps away from the popular carnival attractions of the Spanish City amusement park, where John Hoadley’s Dive Bomber and the Figure 8 Roller Coaster rides shake up thrill-seeking holiday makers.
This is amateur film-making at its best, capturing the growth of Whitley Bay as a seaside town in stunning colour. The 1904 electrification of the North Tyneside rail network (with a grand new station built 6 years later) stoked Whitley Bay’s seaside tourism. The streets of red-brick and mock-Tudor suburban homes pictured (scorned by 30s literati including W.H. Auden) allude to the great inter-war commuter boom in the town. Whitley Bay’s fame as the “Blackpool of the North East” grew after the opening on 14 May 1910 of the Spanish City Empress Theatre and Pleasure Gardens, still a magnet for fun-seekers in the 50s, when the town lured Fairs Week crowds all the way from industrial western Scotland.
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Non-Fiction 1912 6 mins Silent Location: Whitley Bay
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Amateur film 1958 11 mins Location: Whitley Bay
Iconic scooters and loony races at an international rally in the seaside town of Whitley Bay.
Promotional 1926 16 mins Silent Location: Whitley Bay
Pack your swimming trunks and a time machine - Whitley Bay in the 1920s is the next hot holiday destination.
Amateur film 1957 12 mins Location: Whitley Bay
Fleets of Italian scooters descend on Whitley Bay for a Whitsun weekend rally and carnival parade in the pre-Mod era.
Amateur film 1935 11 mins Silent Location: Whitley Bay
All set for a Spanish City stroll with hordes of fun-loving holiday makers at Whitley Bay in the 1930s.
Home movie 1977 3 mins Silent Location: Whitley Bay
Children of Ocean View in Whitley Bay gather for a feast at a patriotic street party for the Queen's Silver Jubilee.
Comedy 1896 1 mins Silent
A deft music hall act adapted for film, featuring the only known appearance of pioneer filmmaker Robert Paul
Advert 1985 2 mins
Take a fighter jet, a Top Gun pilot with sunglasses and a brand new SAAB 900 and you have a sure-fire vehicle to launch a Hollywood career.
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A wandering warrior dreams of a new form of expression, in this promo for UNKLE’s album The Road: Part II / Lost Highway Pt. II directed by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones.
1935 16 mins
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Advert 1946 1 mins Silent
Life is looking up! The war is over and the “Corona” Man can visit his “Corona” families once more, door-to-door.
Advert 1962 0 mins Location: Rhyl
Cinema advertisement for Marine Lake & Ocean Beach, Rhyl, a popular destination for crowds set on a day's fun on free rides.
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