This film is part of Free

Tyne and Tide

Going with the flow on the River Tyne at South Shields.

Amateur film 1980 8 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


A South Shields filmmaker observes fragments of daily life and the seasonal tides on the Tyne. The 1930s Sir James Knott Memorial Flats, built to withstand German bombing raids in World War Two, stand guard over the river at Tynemouth as fishermen brood on its banks, trawlers head out to sea, the Shieldsman ferry makes a crossing, and river pilots guide the huge ships and tankers. A stormy North Sea crashes onto Little Haven beach and floods the promenade as winter draws in.

Stephen Gray's interest in 8mm filmmaking was peaked as a teen at Boldon Comprehensive School in the 1960s, but he could not afford a cine camera until, aged 19, he started work as a Gateshead Council trainee environmental health officer. "With my first month's pay I remember going to Bonser's camera shop in Bigg Market, Newcastle. There I bought a second hand Sankyo Silent Super 8 camera for £25, quite a lot in 1977." He joined the South Shields Marine & Technical College Cine Club around 1978, where renowned animator Sheila Graber and award-winning amateurs like Michael Gough offered tips on film structure and editing. He later became a member of Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association.