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
A Mecca for fun – Whitley Bay still thrills the holiday crowds in the 50s
Amateur film 1950 10 mins Silent
From the collection of:
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.
Most Popular Free 2018
Industry sponsored film 1960 17 mins Silent
A concrete reason to give a dam about water supplies in Northern Ireland, in the heart of the picturesque Mourne Mountains
Documentary 1975 26 mins Location: Stoke-upon-Trent
From 'Red and White' Rosemary to 'Zigger Zagger' and veteran Fred Trimble, who has been watching the Potters since 1913: Stoke City's fans are a devoted bunch.
Documentary 1917 12 mins Silent
A state welcome for a Handley Page aircraft arriving in Kolkata
Amateur film 1960 12 mins Silent Location: Blackpool
Have a doggy treat - and meet some very well groomed visitors to Blackpool.
Horror 1973 37 mins
A truck driver thinks he’s in luck when he meets a strange girl by the road in this supernatural horror short
Inside Film 1967 16 mins
Teenage actors discuss their work with Franco Zeffirelli on Romeo and Juliet.
Presentation and Launching Ceremony of the New Whitley Lifeboat Presentation and Launching Ceremony of the New Whitley Lifeboat
Non-Fiction 1912 6 mins Silent Location: Whitley Bay
A flash mob of local swimmers crash the grand christening and launch of a new lifeboat for Whitley Bay.
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 1906 6 mins Silent
Chaos reigns as the removal men do their worst…
Science Fiction 1906 3 mins Silent
The lengths that some people will go to, just to avoid a speeding ticket… in this case to Saturn and back.
Aberdeen University Quarter Centenary Celebrations Aberdeen University Quarter Centenary Celebrations
Non-Fiction 1906 32 mins Silent Location: Aberdeen
Edward VII and Queen Alexandra open new buildings at Marischal College, Aberdeen
The Medium Exposed? Or, A Modern Spiritualistic Seance The Medium Exposed? Or, A Modern Spiritualistic Seance
Comedy 1906 7 mins Silent
Faking the ability to contact the dead proves to be a big mistake for one Edwardian charlatan.
Comedy 1902 1 mins Silent
Grandma sews a patch on her grandson’s trousers
1903 1 mins Silent
Four-year-old girl and boy dance a mean cakewalk
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