Town’s history on film goes on show

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FASCINATING footage of Hartlepool’s history goes on show this month.

Scenes such as shipbuilding, sea coal gathering and the centenary of the Hartlepool Mail are all featured in a film which has two showings at the Town Hall Theatre on Tuesday, April 17.

The town’s links to cartoon favourite Andy Capp and the views of local people on the amalgamation of the Hartlepools are also spotlighted in the film which will be shown at 2pm and 7pm.

The unique look back in time is taking place thanks to a collaboration between the Northern Region Film & Television Archive (NRFTA) and Hartlepool Cultural Services, part of Hartlepool Borough Council.

The film features footage recently donated to the NRFTA by Hartlepool Cultural Services as well as material from both BBC Look North and Tyne Tees Television.

The production starts with a series of films produced by William Gray & Company Ltd, showing shipbuilding and launches.

The ships featured include the M.V. General Guisan and SS Matarazzo, which were both built and launched in 1947, the Irish Elm which was launched in 1953 and the Irish Larch launched in 1956.

NRFTA film archivist David Parsons said: “These ship building films were recently re-discovered by Hartlepool Cultural Services and it is a privilege to work with them to put on this show and to bring them back to life.

“Through these films, you see not only why shipbuilding was important to Hartlepool, but how much pride the workers had in the work.”

The audience will also get to know why;

l Hartlepool businessmen bought their own fishing trawler, the Fairy Cove, in 1963.

l Why local students re-enacted the trial of the Napoleonic monkey in 1966.

l Why in 1976 Reg Smyth, creator of Andy Capp, returned to Hartlepool.

l And in 1978, after a century in publication, why the Hartlepool Mail was still an important part of local life.

Admission is £3 to see the film and more details are available from Hartlepool Tourist Information Centre on (01429) 890000.

l All photographs courtesy of the NRFTA and the Hartlepool Cultural Services section of Hartlepool Borough Council