Film ID:
NEFA 21607



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This short film by South Shields filmmaker Lilian Wincote concentrates on the traditional New Years celebrations in Allendale, Northumberland. The celebrations involve tar barrels, set on fire and paraded around the village.

Title: Allendale Celebrates New Year.

The opening view shows how snow soon covered houses and streets within a few days of its starting on the 27th December 1978. The weather would prove to be severe enough to cut off Allendale from the outside world.

Cars and people make their way along slush and ice covered roads. Snow covered cars are parked in front of the Dale Hotel. A man tries to dig his snowbound Mini van free. A general view shows the church tower where power cuts had caused the clock to stop. Shrubs in the foreground are covered in frozen snow.

People clear snow from the road, others spread grit on the road. Preparations take place in the village centre, where they are stacking old wooden pallets for a bonfire, as part of Allendales ancient New Year fire festival.They cover the stack with brushwood. Later this will be lit by flaming barrels as the old year dies.

More general views follow of a man clearing the snow with a shovel. A man rides by on a horse. General view of a frozen stream. An interior shot shows the guisers preparing themselves in costume and make up before the big event. Night shots of the 45 men [known as guisers, as they are 'disguised' in costumes] as they carry the traditional flaming tar barrels in procession [fairly dark] around the boundaries of the village, before setting alight to the bonfire. More shots of men carrying the barrels [known as 'kits']. The 'kits' of tar thrown onto the pallet stack light the large bonfire, and the fire takes hold. The guisers walk past in fancy costume. Others revellers and other guisers in fancy dress, call upon friends and neighbours as 'first foots', to bring in the New Year. More general views of the bonfire follow.

The film ends on the following day which shows a burnt and smouldering patch where the bonfire was, as a team of men tidy the area. General shots of the village still covered in snow follow.

Title: The End of 1978

Title: Into 1979 [written in the snow]