The new film from artist Matt Stokes. We follow the lives of four Tyneside pioneers who are all linked to the year 1871, when Robert Newall completed the building of a great telescope in his back garden at Ferndene in Gateshead.
Our story begins with a visit to the Observatory now housing the large Refractor Telescope that is on a hill in Pentelli overlooking the megalopolis that is Athens. The only words above the door that are not in Cyrillic text are NEWALL.
The narrative moves back to 1871 and an agitated Newall discusses the failing of Cooke & Sons in the eight year delay to complete his telescope.
John Burnett leads the strike against William Armstrong to get the 9 hour day rule passed.
James Renforth, world champion rower, reflects on existentialism and the nature of his celebrity.
Newall wrestles with a telegraph machine that speaks in a strange code.
Joe Wilson, legendary music hall performer sings in a simple pub, of the fight for workers rights and the death of the great rower Renforth.
We return to the site of where the great telescope was built, to the front room of a suburban semi now standing there and our circle is squared.
A time slice of 1871.