Archive film from across North East community helps tell the story of the Welfare State

A feature film created using archive footage from across the North East is to be screened at venues across the region’s communities.

The North East Film Archive (NEFA) and Teesside University have teamed up to run a screening programme, which will be taken on tour from next month into December.

Dr Ben Lamb, a research academic at the university, has curated a series of films which show the impact of the Welfare State on the region’s social development over the past 100 years.

Rewinding the Welfare part of the archive’s current North East on Film project and features news reports and television documentaries, trade union campaigns and community-made films.

A still of campaigners as they reenact the Jarrow Crusade, with the footage part of the film to be screened by the North East FIlm Archive.


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The legacy of the Jarrow Crusade, new housing, schools, NHS clinics and more feature in the finished piece.

Dr Lamb, who is based at the university’s school of social sciences, humanities and law, has researched the representations of marginalised communities within the media, wider culture, and the arts, with the aim of helping to improve social integration policy.

He said: “Many of these films haven’t been seen since they were first made and are part of the extensive collections at North East Film Archive.

“By reliving the courageous character of North East communities, audiences at the screenings in the tour will experience how grassroots initiatives designed to challenge national inequality have improved the wellbeing of many people.”


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The film takes footage from across the North East since the 1920s.

The audience at screenings will be invited to share their own thoughts as the journey ‘from cradle to grave’ is explored, and hear how access to healthcare, housing, education, social security and pensions has changed over the years.

Depending on each location, events will be different and adapted to reference events of importance to each area.

Other issues to be highlighted include industrial development, welfare benefits and the prejudice experienced by people ‘on the dole’.


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Rewinding The Welfare State is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Teesside University.

The documentary looks at the changes made to housing the North East as a result of the Welfare State's launch.

Screenings include one with Jarrow Local History Group, at Jarrow Focus, on Wednesday, October 16, at 10am, and another with the support South Hylton Local History Society at The Tansy Centre on Monday, December 16, at 7.15pm.

The ticket details are still to be confirmed


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Robson Green appears in a newsreel during the collection of clips.
School life is shown as part of the feature.
The development of social housing is looked at during the film.