Film ID: NEFA 14584 Video of NEFA 14584 Berwick Infirmary Cup Final & Snapshots of Berwick (1929) BERWICK INFIRMARY CUP FINAL & SNAPSHOTS IN BERWICK 1928-1929 Visitor TabsDescription This early actuality film of local topical news items features highlights from the Berwick Infirmary Cup football final between Eyemouth Rangers and Belford, played at the Stanks on June 29th 1929, and scenes from the Berwick May Fair in 1928. The film also includes an evocative 'phantom ride' through Walkergate Lane, a back street in a poor area of Berwick, during May Fair celebrations. In the final scene, fish merchants gather at an auction on the Berwick quayside, including a member of the Holmes family, fish merchants in Berwick since the 1800s. The film of the Berwick Infirmary Cup was due to be screened that same week at the Berwick Playhouse. Title: Berwick Infirmary Cup Final 1929 The Eyemouth Rangers team of football players line up in front of the goal for a group portrait. Crowds stand behind the goalpost net. The players move forward towards and past the camera. The opposing team, Belford, then poses in front of the goal. Schoolboys follow the team as they move forwards and past the camera. Many schoolboys in uniform are in the crowd behind the net. The toss of the coin takes place on the pitch, several small schoolboys loitering close by the players. The match is in progress. In the background, crowds of spectators are standing beside the Elizabethan walls and sitting on high embankments that surround the pitch. Dust rises from the dry pitch as the men play. A goalkeeper takes a goal kick. There is a close shot of a section of the crowd. The men and women all wear hats. Some men shout out, other spectators are smiling. One man raises his hat to camera. The camera pans across other sections of the crowd. The film returns to the match in progress, the high infirmary walls in the background and several soldiers in uniform in the crowd at the edge of the shot. There are shots of the action taken from behind a goal. High angle views of the match follow. A close up of a section of the standing crowd records two mothers in cloche hats, with small children and prams. There are a number of soldiers in uniform to the rear of the women. One woman spectator turns and chats to a soldier. The film returns to ground level shots of the football match, with a goal kick, penalty and goal scored by Eyemouth rangers striker. A close up of the crowd cheering jubilantly follows. A man in suit and hat poses with a winner’s cup, possibly Councillor W. J. Dixon, the donor of the cup. Title: Snapshots in Berwick 1928 Title: The Opening of the Fair. His Lordship the Mayor, Councillor Harry Stuart and Corporation The Mayor in ceremonial robes with councillors and other dignitaries, many in top hats, descend the steps at Berwick Town Hall on Marygate. Three police officers are positioned at the bottom of the steps. A band of uniformed police form an honorary guard, heading the procession of Mayor and civic dignitaries along Marygate. A backward tracking shot records the march through the Berwick streets. The street is crowded with people, and groups of small children walk and run with the procession. Fair stalls appear beside the road in the background. The children, along with other spectators in the crowd, look towards the camera. Title: Loyal burgesses, etc: There are extended tracking shots along the spectators lining the road for the procession, that provide portraits of the cross section of people in the crowds, some posing, smiling or glaring at the camera. Various shops along Berwick High Street stand to the rear of the spectators. Shot from behind spectators, the police honour guard lead the Mayor, mace bearer and assorted dignitaries down a narrow street between the crowd and a stone building. The next film sequence consists of a forward travelling shot, known as a 'phantom ride,' down the narrow cobbled streets of Marygate and Walkergate Lane towards Wallace Green Church. Local men, women and children are strolling, standing on doorsteps, and gathered in small groups along Walkergate Lane. Two young boys run along the street and face the camera to get in shot. A young mother runs onto the road, lifts up her small son to the camera, determined to be in shot. Pedestrians in the street give way. Title: The Merry “Merry-go-rounders” Children and adults enjoy themselves on a merry-go-round of racing motor cars and rodeo horses set up at Berwick May Fair on the Parade. The ride moves faster and faster. A group of people watch the ride and some of the men wave and mug for the camera, one man comically tying a ribbon he is handed into a noose around his neck. The camera pans across to the small crowd watching from the opposite side of the merry-go-round. Title: Peeps at the Fish Quay A group of men, women and children attend an auction of fish on Berwick upon Tweed quayside. Boxes of fish stand on the floor. Workers in aprons stand with the crowd. Berwick Old Bridge and Royal Border Bridge stand in the background. In the foreground, a man in sailor’s hat talks to a vicar, who removes his hat on seeing the camera. His companion then removes his hat. Group portrait shots of the crowd. Close-up of the auctioneer taking bids, surrounded by a crowd of men who smile towards camera. One of the men selling fish will be a member of the Holmes family, a long standing fish merchants business in Berwick. Context Annually, on 30th May the new Lord Mayor of Berwick-upon-Tweed and his civic party officially open the May Fair at noon with the ancient custom of “walking the Fair”. The Berwick Fair dates back to the medieval period and was first mentioned in a Charter of 1302 granted by Edward I to the burgesses and heirs of the town. Primarily a trading fair, its popularity ebbed and flowed. At one time, Guild members were “encouraged” to walk the fair with the Mayor using threats of “a penalty of 5 groats” if they did not turn up, and a “Forfett to the Gylde of 8 shillings without Redemyson” if they didn’t wear professional dress. In 1896 a newspaper report described Berwick’s Marygate during May Fair week as “alive with itinerant merchants in hardware, with the usual accompaniments of less important dealers”. Hundreds browsed the stalls that stretched up Marygate through to Scott’s Place, selling everything from quack medicines to linoleum. In 1890 the Berwick Horse Show and a cattle sale were introduced, along with a popular fun fair on the Parade “where Wilmot’s galloping horses, brilliantly lighted by electricity were the principal attraction to old and young” as well as “Tommy Miller’s well known acrobatic performances”. By the end of the 1800s, the procession down Marygate from the Town Hall was headed by the Borough Police, followed by the halbert bearers, the Mayor, Sheriff and members of the Corporation, a tradition which continued into the 20th century, as illustrated in a film of the May Fair taken from a beautiful “local topical” called Snapshots in Berwick, filmed in 1928. This actuality footage was probably commissioned by a local cinema or fairground showman who could lure in audiences with the promise of familiar sights, events and, most importantly, local faces in the crowds, who received far more time on screen than the stars. “See yourselves as others see you” was one of the phrases used on advertising placards. Snapshots in Berwick captures both the magic of cinema and modern life in its flickering images, and draws on the cine-stroll in the city that were a feature of early cinema. Pioneer cinematographers such as brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison, and Robert W. Paul initiated important non-fiction film genres such as the actuality, a realistic slice of everyday life originally captured in one shot, which, for the Lumières, consisted of a uniform 50-second length film strip. The fascination and thrill of movement for early cinema-goers was heightened by the invention of the ‘travelling actuality’, also known as the ‘phantom ride’, a dynamic new way of film making in which the camera was placed on a moving vehicle, such as a tram, bus and often the buffer of a speeding train. Contemporary artists and filmmakers such as Mark Lewis have re-imagined modern urban space and the process of cinema through evoking the actuality film of the Lumières and other early film experimenters, and the ghost of this genre has also re-surfaced in amateur video within the digital era. Although the actuality and its off-shoot, the phantom ride, began to decline in popularity from around 1902, the genre was still practiced by the Mitchell and Kenyon Film Company and Pathé, and survives in the magnificent Snapshots in Berwick, vividly animating the street culture and people of the city during May Fair celebrations. It’s an absolute delight that a medium first regarded as entertainment for the working classes, an added attraction at the fairground or music hall, here takes a languid stroll down working-class Walkergate Lane, well away from the official pomp and ceremony. The film of the Berwick Infirmary Cup Final was due to be screened the same week as the match at the Berwick Playhouse, in the same year The Jazz Singer played there - but it was shown only as a silent film as it was not yet equipped for the 'talkies'. (The Playhouse survived in business until 2005, but the building was demolished in November 2010 after 91 years in business.) As a late form of the 'local topical', this film is typical of the genre in capturing a great many crowd scenes, as well as the group portraits of the football teams. The Berwick Infirmary Cup started back in 1922, one of the oldest charity football competitions, and the first games were played on the Stanks. Teams from south and north of the border participated, with all proceeds then going to local hospitals. With the foundation of the National Health Service, the name was changed to the Berwick Charities Cup and funds raised and sponsorships were distributed across worthy causes within the town. In addition, many old-age pensioners also received chickens at Christmas time. The Cup has attracted teams from as far south as Ashington, Wallington and Tyneside, as far north as West Barns and Dunbar and as far west as Kelso and Greenlaw. The Charities Cup faced a crisis in 1967, but was rebuilt into a major competition. Interest dwindled in the 2000s, and the competition limps on (in 2018) with help from crowd funding. References: http://www.berwickfriends.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/BERWICK-CINEMA-text.pdf Thanks to Linda Bankier, Archivist at Berwick-upon-Tweed Record Office, for contributing contextual information about Berwick’s “Walking the Fair” tradition.