British Pathe archive gives a glimpse of the North East's past

A treasure trove of old newsreel footage of Tyneside has been made available online after British Pathe added its entire archive to YouTube

A still image from a British Pathe film showing the Tyne Bridge
A still image from a British Pathe film showing the Tyne Bridge

A treasure trove of old newsreel footage of Tyneside has been made available online after British Pathe added its entire archive to YouTube.

The firm, whose films were synonymous with going to British cinemas in the first half of the 20th century, has uploaded more than 145 days’ worth of video onto the internet.

That includes rare clips of the launch of HMS Newcastle, the opening of Scotswood Bridge, Newcastle United’s 1952 FA Cup final victory and resulting parade through the city, snow on the Geordie rooftops and a visit to the North East by the Queen.

 

“Our hope is that everyone, everywhere, who has a computer will see these films and enjoy them,” said Alastair White, general manager of British Pathe, whose archive was first digitised in 2002 thanks in part to a grant from the National Lottery.

“This archive is a treasure trove unrivalled in historical and cultural significance that should never be forgotten. Uploading the films to YouTube seemed like the best way to make sure of that.”

Spanning from 1896 to 1976, the collection includes footage from Britain and around the world of major events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, sport and culture, including everything from the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, to the Hiroshima bombing, and Emily Davison throwing herself under the King’s horse.

 

In a film called “HMS Newcastle Launched. Duchess of Newcastle names new Cruiser at Walker-on-Tyne (1936)”, choirboys sing and VIPs hang on to their hats against the wind. The Duchess – who may have actually been an incorrectly identified Duchess of Northumberland – steps forward and pushes the button to launch the Town class light cruiser in 1936.

The Royal Navy boat is then seen sliding down from the stocks into the water near the shipyard and the Duchess is given a small gift of thanks.

HMS Newcastle - the seventh vessel to hold the name - would go on to see action during World War Two before eventually being decommissioned in 1958.

 

There is also a film from 1967 called “Newcastle Bridge” which depicts the opening of the new Scotswood Bridge and cars making the last journeys over the old bridge

“Queen Visits Northumberland”, from 1954, shows the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visiting Tynemouth, Wallsend, Newcastle, the Tyne Bridge and South Shields on her tour.

Other films include footage of the Northumberland Plate race meeting at Newcastle Racecourse from 1935, young members of the South Northumberland Pony Club preparing for a “juvenile hunt” at Hedley-on-the-Hill and Santa in an aeroplane landing at Seaton Delaval in 1937.

Clips from County Durham include Ministers visiting Durham Miners in 1947 to oversee the “drive for coal”, the enthroning of the Bishop of Durham in 1939 and floods on the River Wear in 1915.

Sunderland is represented with footage of an Empire Day Parade in the city from 1934, a World Cup match between Chile and USSR at Roker Park and a woman from Wearside competing at the “British Fat Lady Contest”.

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