National Lottery provides £50,000 to Sunderland studio for Shields Ferry documentary

The crew aim to provide insight into both the history and legacy of the iconic Shields Ferry crossing. Credit: Nexus

A new documentary film is set to chart the history of the cross-Tyne Shields Ferry service.

Sunderland-based New Enterprise Studios (NES) has secured £50,000 in funding from the heritage Lottery Fund to shoot the film.

It will provide insight into both the history and legacy of the iconic Shields Ferry crossing.

The project, which gets underway in 2023, aims to look at the history of ferries that have crossed the River Tyne, the development of those services and how they have impacted on their local communities.

A range of participants from across Tyneside will feature, including passengers and crew.

Nexus, the public body which owns and operates the Shields Ferry, said it was excited to be taking part in the project.

The public are encouraged to become involved in the project. Credit: Nexus

Head of Customer Service Operations, John Souter, said: "We are looking forward to collaborating on this exciting new documentary project which will tell the fascinating story of the Shields Ferry.

"There has been a ferry crossing the Tyne for more hundreds of years and it has become an iconic part of everyday life in our region. It is part of the fabric of our region.

"The River Tyne has such a rich heritage, and the ferry crossing is undoubtedly a key part of that story. We can’t wait to see the finished documentary programme."

Project manager at New Enterprise Studios, Wayne Madden, said: "We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players.

"The Shields Ferry has been a vital link in our region for centuries, and it’s a fantastic feeling to know this documentary will help preserve our region's history for future generations to come.

"I’m very excited about the prospect of making this documentary and helping to both educate and inform people."

NES managing director, Wayne Thompson, said: "When I set up NES, I did so with a clear goal of helping others, helping them to learn and helping them to take pride in their region.

"This project is a wonderful chance to do both of those things and we're immeasurably grateful to be supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to enable us."

Those taking part will learn skills in journalism, photography, videography and more; with an educational programme also being scheduled to accommodate public workshops and engagement.

The public are encouraged to become involved in the project from its inception as much as possible; those who feel they may have materials to share regarding the Ferry and its history can contact the production team directly by emailing to discuss.

The Shields Ferry service makes almost 25,000 crossings a year, carrying nearly 400,000 passengers.

There have been ferries crossing the Tyne since the 14th century, and this is currently the only service that remains.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...