Well-known Jarrow landlord puts out new documentary film on town's pubs

A Jarrow publican has helped put together a documentary film chronicling the history of the town’s pubs and their social function in the area.

Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 5:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 5:36 pm

Jess McConnell, landlord at the Albion Gin and Ale House pub on Walter St, has teamed up with a South Shields film producer to create the offbeat film.

The 18-minute-long project enjoyed its first full screening last Wednesday at the Albion pub, just before the new national lockdown in England came into effect.

Mr McConnell describes the short film as a ‘potted history of Jarrow’ and a ‘futurist humourous vision’, as well as documentation, of the declining fortunes of the town’s pub businesses.

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Jess McConnell (top, left); Jarrow, in days gone by (top, right); the documentary film looks at the social functions pubs have played in the town since its industrial heyday (bottom, left); one of the film's pub crusaders (bottom, right)

“During the first lockdown, I found I had so much time on my hands, that I decided to try my hand at film-making,” Mr McConnell said.

"So earlier this year, I worked on a film called ‘Covid: the Untold Story’ that was a tribute to the NHS with a local film producer.

"As the pandemic months went on, I thought it was worth looking at something closer to home.”

The pair’s latest production takes a tongue-in-cheek turn to an imagined future in which the area’s hard-hit hospitality industry has been as good as wiped out by the virus.

Albion landlord, Jess McConnell

Mock-presenter commentary is supplied throughout by The Albion landlord, acting as a voice-over to accompany old photographs and archive footage used to piece together various chapters of the town’s recent history.

In the film, ‘a new Jarrow March is formed with half a dozen publicans who set off to London[...with new fictionalised demands to save the town’s pubs],’ he explained.

Mr McConnell has himself fallen foul of the new Covid-19 rules limiting service and was ordered to close his pub temporarily, having been found in breach of government restrictions.

“It’s got a rousing section at the end, about basically treasuring and saving the pubs,” Mr McConnell added.

Jess McConnell, inside the Albion pub

The film, which has already notched up more than 2,000 views online, made use of a number of images taken and developed by well-known Jarrow photographer, Paul Perry.

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