Film ID: YFA 1996 Video of ANNUAL SPORTS - STORTHES HALL ATHLETES 1930-1931 Visitor TabsDescription The film contains footage of a sports day at a mental institution in Huddersfield. The full opening title is "Our annual sports, July 30th 1930. Storthes Hall athletes in summer time take the field in friendly rivalry". The film shows the variety of games and activities that have been arranged for the residents and depicts a very happy and relaxed environment during the day. Title-Our annual sports July 30th 1930. Storthes Hall athletes in summer time take the field in friendly rivalry. The film opens with a brief shot of an older man looking at the camera, a large crowd of men and women are visible behind him. Title-The prize stand was well patronized and prizes were freely distributed and the band played all the time. The camera pans across a large stand full of crowds of men and then it pans across another stand which is crowded with women. There is a brief shot of a band playing on a small stage. A parade of men and women walk past the camera smiling, every couple of people are linking arms. At intervals they dance around in a circle and then continue on walking. The next shots are of some men taking part in sprinting races. Title-Our speedess broke many records but no bones. Mary won the solo 80 yards and kindly smiled when she was `shot'. The women take part in sprinting races too and then afterwards a group of the women smile for the camera. Then they gather around a window to receive their prizes. The following shots are of the wheel barrow races for the men and then more sprinting races; one of the men falls down near the start. Some of the men smile for the camera and then there are shots of the egg and spoon race for the women. The winner jokes for the camera and talks to the other women. The next shots show the assault course and the men crawling through sacks that are on the ground, into tyres and though barrels. Then the women take part in a skipping race and his is followed by brief shots of the women tying ribbons onto their hats and then trying them on. Title-Not having steeds some doughty knight joisted with pillows bestriding a greasy pole. A greasy pole has been set up in the field and cushions are piled under it. Several couples of men are astride it hitting each other with pillows and trying to knock the other man off. There are lots of funny shots with men falling off, hanging on upside down and fighting while upside down. Title-And then the dance and so to bed. And here's to our next merry meeting. Title-The monkey winch at work and the wind sighs:-`Oh! Woodman, spare that tree'. In another scene several well-dressed men stand around watching as some workers use a large hand saw to cut through a tree and then a hand winch to pull it down. There is a shot from a small distance away which captures the tree falling and some of the men standing right at the roots of the tree. The well-dressed men wander about and smile at the camera. Men in suits and hats are on the sports field smiling at camera. The camera is at one end of the track looking at the men who are sprinting towards the camera and some of them smile for the camera. Then it's the turn of the women who race down the field and afterwards some of them pose for the camera. There are some shots of the men's wheel barrow race and shots of the women all seated in the stands. Some of the men struggle to hold the men up as they race down the track. The egg and spoon race is next for the women and following this is a race where they pick up a balloon along the race track and blow it up at the finish line. Some of the men jump through tyres that are suspended off the ground while some of them get stuck in the middle. There are more shots of the skipping races and then the men hopping down the field in large sacks. Some of the women tie ribbons around their hats so they may be the prizes that they received for taking part in the games. The last 5 minutes depicts the sports day of 1931. The final few shots are of the greasy pole again. Two men hang on upside down and fight as the crowd stands around watching and laughing. The last shots are of a tug-of-war, the camera is very close to the men and follows one of the teams as they gradually grad the other team over onto their side. Then there are some shots of the men and women gathered around the camera. Context This film provides a fascinating insight into the workings of a mental institute between the wars, as residents at Storthes Hall Mental Hospital, near Huddersfield, have their annual games in the summer of 1930. The self-contained hospital – with its own fire engine, ballroom, shop and pub – gives a free rein to the patients who clearly have a fun time with skipping and sack races, as well as a tug of war, dancing and even felling trees. They then make bonnets for the winners. This film was donated to the Archive after the Hospital closure in 2003 by Dr John Bruce who had been its Director from the 1960s. Storthes Hall Asylum was opened in 1904, the 4th West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum. In 1927 it had 1,652 patients of whom all but 73 were rate aided. 771 were men, 881 women, and 268 "private" patients, all men. Only 23% of admissions recovered. It changed names in 1929 to Storthes Hall Mental Hospital, in 1939 to West Riding Mental Hospital, and in 1948 to Storthes Hall Hospital. It is now part converted to Halls of Residence for Huddersfield University. Some patients had Down’s Syndrome, while some elderly women spent decades there simply for having a child out of wedlock.