Film ID:
YFA 3103



Visitor Tabs


Made by Betty and Cyril Ramsden, this film shows the workshop and products of 'Mousey Thompson- the Craftsman of Kilburn.'  He was a famous furniture maker from North Yorkshire who owned a small business where many apprentices and craftsmen produced his designs using traditional carpentry methods.  All his furniture had his personal signature of a mouse being carved on it.   

The film opens with the following intertitles all overlaying a picture of a carved mouse to set the scene for the film. 

Title - A Ramsden Film
Forward     In this Age of Mass Production, there is a quiet Yorkshire village where… the ancient craft of wood carving still flourishes.  Here Skill and Oak blend producing the ANTIQUES of TOMORROW
On Choir Stalls & Coffee Tables, Alters & Ash Trays, the sign of THE MOUSE proclaims their origin.
To ROBERT THOMSON and his men acknowledgement is made for their help and co-operation.

The film begins with scenes of the small village of Kilburn and its surrounding countryside.   

Title – Home of Robert Thompson 

The old house of Thompson is shown outside and inside with pieces of his furniture, including tables and chairs, all with the distinctive carved mouse.  He is then shown through a window at home drawing up plans. 

There is a large oak tree in a field.  From this sort of tree, oak is cut up into planks.  Outside by the workshop, wood is piled up ready to be turned into furniture of other household items.  Several men carry a large piece of wood into the workshop where it is cut into smaller pieces.   

Intertitle:   ‘Ecclesiastical work’     

A workman marks out a drawing with a floral design on a small piece of wood, which he then carves out with various precision chisels.  The finished product forms the top of what looks like a pulpit.  

Intertitle:   ‘Reredos in the making’    

A man is sanding down a finished carving which he then places on top of a reredos (the screen behind an alter).    

Intertitle:   ‘Lettering’   

A workman is carving text on a wooden plaque in memory of a former parishioner, which, having sanded it down, he then shows to the camera to be read. 

Intertitle:   ‘Domestic Furniture - making a coffee table’   

A workman, smoking a pipe, pieces together the tenon joints of the parts of the coffee table.   He then makes one of the legs, onto which he carves the trademark mouse, and finally puts the whole table together using wooden pins. 

Intertitle:  ‘Using the adze’     

A workman sharpens his adze using a sharpening stone.  He then uses it on the coffee table top that he has wedged under his feet and carves the distinctive Thompson rippled effect.  This is then planed, worked on again with a fine metal plate, sanded down and attached to the legs with wooden pegs. 

Intertitle:  ‘Polishing after fuming’   

The workman then applies some polish to the table, rubs in the polish, and the finished product is shown. 

Intertitle:  ‘Bookends’   

A workman carves a mouse on the bookend he is making, polishes it, and displays the two finished bookends. 

Intertitle:  ‘Wood turning’   

A man turns a piece of wood on a lathe, shaping it into a bowl, and patterning it using various chisels.  Once off the lathe he further shapes it using an electric saw. 

Intertitle:  ‘Hand finishing’    

He then finishes off the bowl again using various chisels.  The film closes showing all the objects in the Ramsden’s living room.  The finished bowl, complete with carved mouse, is put on a table by Mary Day, and filled with fruit.  The bookends are also shown in use, as is the coffee table by Cyril Ramsden who is sitting in an armchair drinking coffee, smoking, using a Thompson ashtray, and reading a book.   

The End