Film ID:
NEFA 19357



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A promotional film produced by Turners Film Production that looks at the activities of Hugh Mackay Carpets, a historic and long standing firm famous for the production of high quality carpets in Durham. The film follows aspects of carpet selling and manufacture from the choosing of a carpet in a showroom, to its design and manufacture for an overseas order. Many of the design and manufacturing processes shown are from a pre computer era.

The opening shot is taken in a carpet show room with a large array of free standing carpets samples, as well as those on special displays on the wall. A couple discuss and look through some of the carpet samples. The camera pulls back to give a wider view of the extensive range of carpet samples on display. In a closer shot, the couple continue to look through the samples. A travelling shot moving from right to left shows the couple exploring more carpet samples. A salesman approaches the woman, and as the husband turns back another carpet sample he begins to open a discussion with them. From patterns on show. the woman picks one she likes. Music accompanies the next shot which pans from left to right, showing the elaborate pattern of another carpet.

A travelling shot circles a large flower like pattern in the centre of a carpet. The next shot shows a geometric style of pattern on another, the following shot shows a highly geometric patterned carpet, followed by a pattern which is based on Scottish tartan. The next shot is of a carpet pattern which uses a coat of arms as part of its overall pattern. The motto on the coat of arms is 'Sapere Aude'. The film then cuts to a woodland scene next to a river, which pulls back to the River Wear just below Durham Cathedral.

Title: Durham Carpets

The next shot is taken from below a wooden rack, where large bobbins of yarn are being inserted. The film then cuts to a view from above showing dozens of bobbins in the rack with threads coming off the bobbins. Another rack of bobbins is added. A panning high angle shot follows from left to right showing the extent of the racks of bobbins across the factory work area.

The film cuts to small samples of coloured yarn, bunched together in a box. A man removes a sample and compares its colour to a similar sample. Hanks of yarn are shown on a table. A man picks up one of the hanks, he is John Mackay the son of the founder of the current factory. He is discussing the quality of the material with a colleague. A carpet sample is laid on the floor of a special mirrored cubicle, about the size of a telephone kiosk. The result gives the impression of an infinite landscape, showing the effect a patterned carpet may have laid over a large space.

The film cuts to a designer painting a coloured design onto squared paper. The shot opens out to a wider view of the design studio. Another artist works on a large pattern for a carpet design. The film cuts to a man taking coloured yarn samples from a box. Next to him is a painted representation of a carpet pattern. He compares the colours of the samples with the colours in the painted design. He discusses with a colleague the colours of the design. The film cuts to another painted pattern being compared to a manufactured sample. The film cuts to an artist painting a floral design onto squared paper. The film cuts back to an artist seen earlier, painting a geometric design on squared paper (in the film referred to as point paper). The next shot shows a painted design with the reference number 7020. Two men discuss the design and the manufacture of the carpet. They compare textile sample colours against the colours in the painted pattern. Two other men examine and discuss another painted pattern. The camera shows a close up of a floral style pattern, which is being developed for an order from Germany. A close up follows of two men putting yarn samples onto the painted pattern to compare colours. A girl weaves by hand on a special board a sample piece of carpet which will be used for a approval by designer and customer. The excess wool is shaved off the sample and it is removed from the peg board.

The film cuts to a long shot in a long room, at the end of which two seated figures. An architect and a Mackay designer pore over colour charts and discuss design matters. They look over some large carpet samples, which hang in special racks. Samples of coloured yarns are kept in drawers below the racks. The architect discusses colour preferences and they choose what is required from the samples. They look over a patterned carpet in situ on the floor. They kneel on the carpet to discuss changing the size and colour of the pattern. The altered design is made up as a small sample by hand, complete in the new colours. The sample is taken out from its frame. The next shot is of a set of scales, a hank of yellow wool is put on the scales for weighing and a member of staff makes notes in a ledger. The film cuts to a  piece of woollen thread being teased out on special equipment. The yarn is tested for tensile strength on a special machine. The film cuts to a paper pattern mounted on board in front of the operator of a machine . The operator of the machine is transferring some of the pattern information to punched cards. Another operator transfers square by square the colour information from the pattern to punched cards. The operator takes the completed cards from a special machine. Another technician draws measurements onto squared paper, this is called the weaving plan, which corresponds to the precise measurements of the room in which the carpet will be laid. Two men discuss the weaving plans, on a table which has on it a sample of the carpet to be completed. The next shot shows a complex work plan in the form of a board with strips of paper attached. The following shot shows shows a woman putting the punched cards on the rotating drum of a special machine. The machine is sewing the cards together in one long continuous sequence. Different coloured yarns are wound onto bobbins. Technicians thread and put the bobbins of yarn onto a Wilton loom. Shots follow showing the punched cards and other parts of the mechanism being prepared. Bobbins of yarn are put into racks or 'creeled' in frames. From each frame yarn is fed from 216 bobbins. More frames are added and the tension of the thread is controlled by a small hooked weight placed on the bobbin where the thread is played out. The loom is prepared by technicians to begin weaving the carpet. The next shot shows the carpet pattern beginning to appear on the loom. A view follows of the numerous rows of threads shot from below, as they are fed into the loom. A technician checks the quality of the carpet as it emerges from the loom. A supervisor checks with the technician that everything is going well. They check the quality of the new carpet with the original design on paper. Full production of the carpet can now take place. Shots of the loom at work follow. On a broadloom the film shows the emergence of a carpet with a geometric design, the process is scrutinised by the weaver. The next shot shows the broadloom at work, with shots of the hundreds of threads of yarn being fed into the loom. A technician skillfully changes an empty yarn bobbin, for a full one on the loom.The Wilton loom which is weaving a chevron design is shown in action as a technician supervises its work. The next shot shows the punched cards, which are controlling the weaving on the loom, being fed slowly through the loom in the lower half of the picture. Close up shots follow of the yarn thread slowly building into the pattern of the carpet.

The film changes to show final touches to the carpet being hand sewn by a member of staff. Another staff member clips off loose ends with scissors. Latex is applied to the back of a carpet as a low angle shot shows. At the end of the process the carpet piles up at the end of the machine. Before this it also rolls off an anti-bias roller which helps remove any wrinkles or creases. Latex can be seen being added to the back of the carpet. The carpet moves slowly through this process. High pressure steam 'bursts' the pile. Following this process the colours and weave are more clearly seen. The next shot shows the carpet moving slowly over rollers. A technician checks a finished carpet by hand and then allows it to gently fall to the floor at the end of the inspection table. Two men hoist the carpet into a long series clamps in order that lengths of carpet can be sewn together. The carpet is then pulled into a large hall and laid loosely on the 'planning' floor, after being stretched and rolled flat. A technician trims the carpet with a special tool where seams join two pieces together, effectively making the seam 'invisible'. Behind him in long shot another technician sweeps the clippings off the surface of the carpet. The film cuts to show the carpet in situ in a large reception or conference hall, where dozens of dining tables are laid out for guests. Another shot looking towards the drinks bar, shows the carpet also decorates the front of the bar with its distinctive pattern. The camera pans down to provide a close up of the carpet and its distinctive pattern. The film cuts to the architect and designer seen earlier in the film, talking to each other while standing on another carpet with a large geometric pattern. The film cuts to another two men, those seen earlier discussing the carpet pattern for the German client. Then the film cuts to a designer in close up putting samples of coloured yarn onto the paper plan of a new carpet pattern. A close up shows a paper pattern seen earlier in the film. The camera pulls back to show a designer choosing colours from a box of yarn samples. In the background one of his colleagues. The film cuts to a design office, where people check paper patterns against sample carpets or complete paper patterns.

The film ends by cutting to a picture of Durham Cathedral above the River Wear.

Credit: A Film by Turners Film Productions, Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Credit: Photography - Peter Brock, Editor - Vick Neve, Narrator - Paul Vaughan, Producer - John Grant

Credit: Durham Carpets, From the Looms of Hugh Mackay