Film ID: YFA 2024 Video of YFA 2024 The Brook 1950 THE BROOK 1959 Visitor TabsDescription A film made by Brooks Motors of Huddersfield, this is the story of a Yorkshire river and the industries along its banks as the river flows from its source to the sea. The film includes a closer look at Brook Motors as well as Bamforths postcard manufacturing. The film opens with a scene of a brook running down the hillside and eventually growing into a river. A little girl sails a boat. Further downstream, there are shots of pollution as a result of rubbish dumped into the river. In Huddersfield, the skyline and surrounding factories can be seen as well as close-ups of houses. The narrator explains how cloth used to be woven in homes, and there is a demonstration of hand weaving. The next section focuses on the textile industry, and there are excellent shots of the weaving process. There is a mill in the distance, followed by interior shots of the processes starting with a man loading raw wool into a carding set. Next the slubbing is spun into yarn on a huge machine. The cloth is woven and a mender checks it. The cloth is washed and put through the cropping machine. The final scene features a man wearing a suit made of the same cloth woven at the mill on the riverbank. The man looks across into a field where a David Brown tractor ploughs the field. The next section is set inside the tractor factory and shows the production line starting with the engines and through to assembly, painting and testing. Using a film editing technique, a tractor wheel dissolves into a mill wheel to signify another scene change. This wheel runs a hemp mill, and there are shots of the river. The next section is about Brook Motors electric motor plant. Different departments are featured including the production line, testing and packing departments. A girl in a floral dress sits by the river and writes on a postcard manufactured by Bamforths. A closer look is taken at the card selection process, and the artists prepare the originals from which the printing blocks are made. Ladies pack up the postcards for delivery to the shops. The scene ends with two women choosing cards at a shop, and the scene also provides a good example of contemporary women’s fashion. A brewery is next, and the process is followed starting with soaking the barley, raking it on the malt house floor, and drying. The mash goes into the mash tuns before going into the coppers where the hops are added. Yeast is added to the fermenting tanks. Next is the barrel washer which uses boiling water and steam to clean them. After a barrel is filled, a Hammonds Brewery lorry delivers the beer. Two men sit on the banks of the Ouse in York and drink beer. They have tennis rackets, which provides the link to the next scene. This is the Slazenger tennis racket factory. The entire production process can be seen starting with the raw wood to fabrication, stringing and the finished racket. Candle making is the next industry on which the film focuses, and parts of the process are documented in a short section. There are brief shots of a power station which uses river water for cooling. Finally at the coast, there are dock cranes and ships loaded with goods for export. The closing credits list the companies we have seen: With acknowledgement to: Bates and Co. Huddersfield Ltd. John Lockwood & Sons Ltd. Learwood Bors. & Co. Ltd. David brown Tractors Ltd. Bamforth & Co. Ltd. Hammonds united Breweries Ltd. Slazengers Ltd. Kaye and Messanger Ltd. The End Context The Brook is one of a series of films made by Brooks Motors of Huddersfield in the 1950s through to the 1990s to promote its products. The YFA holds a collection of these films, including Around The Works (1937), a three part film showing the manufacture of electrical motors; Distinguished Company (1950s), a drama having a character play Michael Faraday taking a tour of the works; and Stop It Please (1959), using short fictional scenes. Brook Motors, once having its headquarters in Huddersfield, is now Brook Crompton, a company that has expanded its field of operations and largely, although not entirely, moved out of the area. Brooks Motors is now better known as a football team in the third division of the West Riding County Amateur League. Part of the complex at St Thomas Road, where the former Brook Motors was situated, is now a factory for the precision engineering company VTL Group. As with many companies, Brook Crompton looks to the future, and, unfortunately, has not kept many old records – these having no commercial value. There are therefore no records of the production of any of the films, which were passed on to the YFA by Nick Thompson, a previous marketing manager. Some of the company archives went to the Tolson Museum in Huddersfield. However, the company does still have a collection of magazines from the 1950's and 60's, also titled ‘The Brook’, which had a world wide circulation of up to 20,000. The name of ‘The Brook’ is well chosen, not only because of the connection with the name of the company, and the poem by Tennyson, but also because the West Riding is riddled with brooks and becks flowing into the five rivers which pass through West Yorkshire: the Colne, Holme, Calder, Spen and Aire. The interplay between nature, rivers, and industry is an interesting aspect of the film: beginning with polluted rivers and ending at the docks. In fact much of the River Calder merges with man made canals. It is not clear whether ‘The Brook’ is meant to refer to any particular brook or river. More likely it refers to the whole network of rivers, with Huddersfield and the the River Colne as its centre. Brook Motors was situated in Huddersfield just near the River Calder and the Huddersfield Broad Canal, whichruns alongside the textile mill of Bates and Co., also featured in the film. The River Holme merges with the River Colne in Huddersfield and this in turn runs into the River Calder just outside of Huddersfield near Bradley. Later on the River Calder merges with the River Aire which in turn runs into the River Humber before it gets to the North Sea. Unlike most promotional films made by commercial companies, this one is clearly aimed at promoting industry in the West Riding as a region, and not just Brooks Motors. By making ‘the brook’ the focal point, the filmmakers were able to feature a cross section of products made in the area. The West Riding is of course famous for its woollen industry, so it is only natural that the processes involved in this industry should be given most prominence – spinning, weaving, cropping and so on. Much has changed in the 60 years since the film was made, not only for Brooks Motors, but for all the companies that are featured. The textile company of Bates and Co., situated at Fairfield Mills in Huddersfield, still operates, but in a changed role of managing the mill which has been converted into offices and art spaces as well as a separate textile business. A family firm that started around 1900, Bates and Co. ceased producing yarn between 1998 and 2000. John Lockwood & Sons, woollen manufacturers, were founded in 1878 and went out of business in 1979. It is not clear which mill is shown on the film; it might be Holme Mills, Golcar, or Scarbottom Mills, at either Milnsbridge or Meltham. The latter was an old cotton mill that was demolished in 1988/89. Interestingly, it was later to become the Spares & Experimental Dept of David Brown Tractors (see below). Learoyd Bros & Co. evolved as worsted manufacturers out of a family business founded by James Learoyd, based at Milnsbridge. They received a medal for the quality of their cloth at the great Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851. The history is a bit muddy: they may well have operated from two different mills in conjuction with two sets of other companies. One scenario starts with the mill at Kirkheaton, going back to 1830, when it was begun as a scouring and dyeing house. According to local historian and photographer Mark Wolf, posted on the website ‘28 Days Later’ (see References), textile production started there around 1880 by Martin & Sons, later joined by Huddersfield Fine Worsteds in 1894. It was bought by Broadhead & Graves in 1909, and various other names can be seen on a painted name board, including Josiah France and Learoyd Bros & Co. The other scenario starts with Trafalgar Mills, built in 1896 and designed in conjunction with A E Learoyd. In this somewhat different version of events, Learoyd Bros amalgamated with Joseph Sykes & A Crabtree to form Huddersfield Fine Worsteds Ltd in 1920; although they continued to trade under their own names. This was later taken over by Illingworth Morris in 1963 and in 1979 they ended production at Trafalgar Mills, with Huddersfield Fine Worsteds continuing at Kirkheaton. Clearly, rather like the West Yorkshire rivers, the Huddersfield worsted industry is a history of firms combining together. At any rate, Learoyd Bros supplied “superfine” grade worsted cloth to Saville Row’s tailors, as well as supplying Crombie, and dealing with Harris Tweed fabric. (For more on the West Riding textile industry see the Context for the film Wormald & Walker Blanket Mills). Like Brook Motors, the YFA also has a large collection of promotional films made by David Brown. David Brown was formed in 1936 in Meltham Mill – owned by the Brook textile family – in the Holme Valley just south of Huddersfield. After a spell making tractors with Ferguson they produced their own make in 1939 before the war required them to concentrate on gearboxes. They went on to produce thousands of tractors, mainly sold abroad, before being taken over by the international conglomerate, Tenneco of Houston, Texas, in 1972. In 1986 the name ‘David Brown’ was dropped and two years later the Meltham factory was closed. Bamforth & Co. are still going, just about, thanks to a takeover in 2000 by a Leeds firm, where they now reside. They started in business in 1870 as a photographic studio in Station Road, Holmfirth, where they produced magic lantern slides from around 1883. In 1898 they built a factory extension to the studio, which closed in 1988 when the business went bust, but which still stands, rather neglected, on New Mill Road. They started designing their cheeky postcards in the 1880s, and this became their main business. Despite being rather risqué, and some might say somewhat sexist, they are still enjoyed by a great many people; as evidenced by the museum in Holmfirth dedicated to the postcard manufacturer. Additionally, Bamforth & Co. became one of Yorkshire’s earliest film production companies, starting in film production in 1898 and running successfully until they closed the film production operations in 1915. See Context for the films Kiss in Tunnel (1899) and Leap Frog (1900) which are also available on YFA online. Like the textile industry, brewing was something that was originally done at home, only to be industrialised, turning out huge profits, in the nineteenth century. And here too it is a history of takeovers, with bigger companies swallowing smaller ones. Thus Hammonds United Breweries took over Tadcaster Tower Brewery in 1946 and later Bentley's Old Brewery, Rotherham, in 1956, and Case’s, in Barrow, in 1959. The following year Hammonds merged with two Scottish breweries to become United Breweries, and in 1961 with Charrington, which in turn merged with Bass in 1967. Sir William Aykroyd, who had an estate at Grantley, near Ripon, joined the board of directors of Hammonds after the firm got into financial difficulties after a short time in existence and he later became chairman. He inherited a shareholding in Hammonds from his his father-in-law, Ezra Waugh Hammond. The business had been formed into a limited liabilities company in 1889. James Hammond, father of E. W. Hammond, purchased the Fountain Brewery from Joseph Pullan in 1860. At the time the film was made, in 1950, the managing director was Harry Lawrence Bradfer-Lawrence, also a well known antiquarian collector, who took up the position in 1937 and kept it until 1962. In 1950 HUB had three breweries in the area, Lockwood in Huddersfield, the Fountain Brewery just off Manchester Road in Bradford and one in Tadcaster which closed in 1951. The brewery seen in the film was most probably the Fountain Brewery. It was founded as a maltings in 1830 and began brewing in about 1840, ceasing in 1955 when it become a purely administrative centre. The former Tadcaster Tower brewery site still has brewing carried on there.* Of the final two companies featured, Slazengers are one of the oldest sports manufacturing companies and were involved very early in tennis, not only with their racquets, but also in supplying tennis balls: they have supplied the Wimbledon championship since 1902 in one of the longest unbroken sporting sponsorships in history. Not long before the film was made the Slazenger Sykes factory at Horbury was turning its wood working skills to making various components for the war effort. In 1959 Ralph Slazenger sold the family business to Dunlop Rubber, and eventually, in 2004, it was bought by Sports Direct; although various companies now own part of the Slazenger brand. Unfortunately there is little information on Kaye and Messenger Ltd., the candles makers, who were located on the New Mill Road, going from Honley, Huddersfield to New Mill. It later became the Kiwi/Cherry Blossom shoe polish factory and then Sara Lee's at Honley. (*With special thanks to Malcolm Toft for information on the brewing industry.) References Antony Avis, ‘H.L.B.L. and the Fountain Brewery’, in Aspects of Bradford 2, edited by Bob Duckett, Wharncliffe Books, 2000. Malcolm Toft, ‘HUB of the North’ (Hammonds United Breweries), Brewery History, Hebden Bridge Journal 077 - Autumn 1994. For David Brown Bamforth & Co. Kirklees Archives also holds some records on the companies featured in the film: Central Library, Princess Alexandra Walk, Huddersfield .