Dir: Ridley Scott
Starring: Tony Scott

A teenage schoolboy playing truant for the day meanders around Hartlepool with just his bicycle and his thoughts for company

This was Ridley Scott’s first film, shot in black and white on a Bolex 16mm cine-camera while studying photography at the Royal College of Art in London in 1962. This lyrical and evocative near-silent drama features his late younger brother as the central character and is a far cry from his Hollywood blockbusters. The film is shot in and around West Hartlepool and there are some scenes in the docks with railway wagons present. In one, rakes of fully laden Conflats are present, and another features line upon line of ballast hoppers. Another shot shows an expansive yard devoid of wagons showing clearly that the contraction of the freight network was already underway, and another scene shows Tony Scott riding his bike under Church Street railway bridge with a large signal gantry above. Although no locomotives are present, and despite the fact that the railways only form a backdrop to the story, this is an interesting glimpse of the North East port’s railway served industrial facilities, which were once quite vast. My thanks extend to Ian Dunn for his help in identifying the locations.

Rakes of Conflats stand in a yard which has already seen much track removed. This is the former coal yard that was adjacent to the Middle and South Piers in West Hartlepool.
As Tony Scott pedals off into the haze the camera pans around to reveal a raised coal drop. The coal sidings here formed a part of the Harbour Dock Yard.
As the cyclist reaches the quayside he passes a completely deserted railway yard and cycles off in the direction of Seaton Carew. The majority of the site here is now a housing estate with the Coal Dock home to a marina.