One for the Road Archive Film

October 5, 2018 no comments

Following on from our post about the North East Film Archive’s Search and Rescue campaign it would have been rude not to get distracted by the wonderful collection of archive film available on their website.

One piece of film that caught our eye was One for the Road, a ten minute account from 1957 of a heavy load being transported from Ashmore, Benson, Pease & Co. in Stockton over to ICI Wilton. The painstaking progress is fascinating to watch, both for the skill in manoeuvring a nitric acid absorption tower down small county roads and the view it gives us of the area from over sixty years ago. Despite none of us local history librarian folk being around in 1957 there was an odd sense of familiarity to the film. A quick check in our photo catalogue reassured us that we hadn’t inadvertently stowed away on the TARDIS but instead were thinking of a recently received donation via Darlington Centre for Local Studies. (Although we’re sure a trip to the Darlington Centre for Local Studies would be as equally exciting as a trip on the TARDIS). The photographs detail the work of Ashmore, Benson, Pease, including the construction of the tower featured in the NEFA film. One moment is particularly evocative. As the heavy load makes its way carefully across Leven Bridge a young boy in the foreground casts off into the river, captured in both still and moving image:


It’s tremendous to see this photograph unexpectedly transformed into a moving image, the two mediums opening a window onto the experience of the past. No TARDIS necessary. To see more of NEFA’s collection, head over to their website and if you have any forgotten film and videotape collections that have recorded life in the North East, then please do get in touch.

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