This film is part of Free

V.E. Day May 8th & 9th 1945 – Thanksgiving Day May 14th 1945

You can almost hear the cheers in this gorgeous silent film of VE day celebrations on the red, white and blue decked streets of Gateshead

Amateur film 1945 10 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


As Victory in Europe is officially declared by Churchill at 3pm on May 8th 1945, an off-duty policeman captures stunning Kodachrome film of the celebrations in Gateshead - flags and bunting strung between terraces, and jubilant women and children (and a few men) gathered for street parties, waving defiant teapots after years of wartime blackouts, bombs and ration cards. On Thanksgiving Day crowds cheer on a grand civic and military procession through Saltwell Park.

Also caught in monochrome by John W. McHugh of the Gateshead Police Photographic Unit, a Victory bonfire burns at night on Windmill Hill, a public park with panoramic views over the River Tyne, gifted to the people of Gateshead on 18th November 1861, but long used for communal entertainment such as Hoppings at Whitsun in 1829. The rare colour footage of VE Day celebrations, filmed in West Gateshead down terraced streets (Fleming Street, Askew Road) since demolished, features as a stand in for the ‘mean streets’ of Liverpool at the end of World War Two in Martin Scorsese’s documentary on The Beatles pop star George Harrison, Living in the Material World (2011).