Film ID:
YFA 1049

HARROGATE: BOARDROOM OF THE NORTH

1970-1971

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is a promotional film made to encourage new businesses, especially those based in London and other southern cities, to set up headquarters in Harrogate.  The film is told through the story of a businessman and his wife who are looking to relocate from London.  They have come to visit Harrogate to see if it meets their standards, and in doing so, tour around many of the local attractions and businesses.   

The film opens with a shot of the boardroom and a set of opening titles:

Harrogate Boardroom of the North

A Zaar Film Production – Lytham St Annes Lancashire

Camera Operator – Joseph Clayton

Sound – Arnold Sumner

Production Secretary – Jeanne Leese

Assistant Director – Terry Greenwood

Editor – Steve Jackson

Script – Donald Blakey

Production Supervisor – Enid Blakey

Graphics – Paul Gray

With Colin Skipp & Lisa Davies

Commentary by J. Nevelle Knox

Produced and Directed by Donald Blakey 

The couple arrive on a train and disembark at Harrogate train station.  The commentary explains that people are finding it increasingly difficult in industrial cities as there has been an increase in demand for executive spaces.  Harrogate has come up with a response and provides a new and exciting opportunity for experimental executive quarters and will satisfy the high living standards of top personnel.  The Executive and his wife have come to Harrogate to scout out the suitability of moving the headquarters from London.  

The couple make their way through the train station, and the commentary notes that many southerners are anxious about living in what is perceived to be 'the industrial north'.  Harrogate is shown to be an impressive town with many beautiful gardens and tree-lined streets.  Cars are passing along the roads, and there are many pedestrians around Evergreen Stray.  The commentary also points out the city’s easy parking system and the civic pride those who live in Harrogate take in the new indoor swimming pool.  The Coppice Valley Swimming Pool is shown full of swimmers.  One of the main walls of the building is made up of large windows to give the feel of the pool being outdoors.   

The city streets are shown in full bustle, and the film points out the useful Exhibition Centre.  Sign – Menswear Association of Britain.  Inside there are many stalls for vendors.  On this particular day there is a textile display trade fair, and many of the stalls are decorated with mannequins modelling the latest fashions.  A men’s fashion show takes place with male models walking down the runway. The men are dressed in colourful suits which have been closely tailored to be on the cutting edge of 1970s fashion.  The show closes with a final model dressed in a white, flared jumpsuit and the crowd applauding. 

The film goes onto highlight different historic sites of the city including the town hall and various hotels.  The commentary points out that many of these hotels, with their remarkable appearance of stately homes, also serve as useful conference centres.  Starting in the lobby, the film shows the different options the hotel provides for those conference-goers including a traditional dining room, bars and cafes, and various conference rooms.   

The Executive makes his way to the headquarters of a major company to meet with the businessmen and discuss the pros and cons of moving the company’s headquarters to Harrogate.  At ICI Fibres, the Executive means the secretary and goes up to the executive offices.  He meets the CEO of the company, who shakes his hand and offers him a cigarette.  1/10th of the synthetic fibre trade takes place in Harrogate, and men can be seen sorting out raw materials from which these synthetic fibres are made.  Women perform different colour tests to mix the right shade and compound to be used on these cloths, and other departments in the business are shown including the specially designed endurance testing machines.   

In the showroom, the finished products are on display.  There are fabric swatches with a selection of different patters as well as displays of the various uses for synthetic fabrics, mostly concentrating on fashions and include Dewhirsts rainwear.  The Executive inspects the materials.  The factory workspace in Harrogate is typical of other fabric houses, and the CEO and visiting Executive make their way through to the dispatch department.  The commentary also points out that all the new buildings are designed to harmonise with the city’s special characteristics. 

The Executive makes his way to another company and to the lobby through a revolving door in the entrance way.  He tours the headquarters where they make foam mattresses.  Workers can be seen pouring the foam and then removing the finished mattress off the machine.  In the finishing room, the mattresses receive final covers, and additional bits of the stockroom are shown on the tour.  The CEO points out that Harrogate is ideal due to its geographical location in the UK well situated on highly travelled routes to London and Edinburgh. 

On Hookstone Drive, the Executive and his wife begin to inspect the housing options and are very excited at the prospect of owning a house.  Back in city, the couple go to a building society where they meet with accountants to discuss their payment options for the house. 

As the couple explores the rest of the city, the commentary points out Harrogate’s regional shopping centre and the different garden centres for the city’s garden-conscious residents.  There are also many antique shops, most of which are located in the special district of the city.  These districts are blended with the old and new to complement the design of the city. 

The Co-op is located in the city centre and has a well stocked food store.  The couple pick a few items and place them in their shopping basket.  Many other classy shops are pointed out including hair salons, dress shops, and H Dawson home goods shop.  Here women inspect bed and carpet materials.  In the Gas Showroom, the couple look for a cooker and discuss their options for central heating, ideally using a gas fire. 

The film the moves onto tour the greater Harrogate area and highlights some of the main attractions including The Great Yorkshire Show, Rudding Park Hall, Harewood House, Fountains Abbey, Oakdale Golf Club, the York Races, and Ripley Castle.  The Great Yorkshire Show, and annual event, features many demonstrations from farm machines to cookery.  Some of the stalls are shown, and this year in particular there is quite a large turn out.  The show arena, which is currently featuring horse-jumping, is the largest in the country. 

Rudding Park Hall, nearby Harrogate, is a place of interest.  The film shows the grounds and house on the estate.  The interior of the house is decorated with many classic pieces and is quite ornate.  And finally, for the visitors, there are peacocks which roam around the grounds and the outdoor café. 

The grounds at Harewood House are shown with specific focus taken on the Bird Garden.  The visitors observe the different birds there including penguins, parrots, and flamingos.  The penguins appear to be the visitors’ favourite as there is a large crowd gathered around their tank. 

At Leeds/Bradford airport, the commentary points out the easy access Harrogate provides for travel.  While there are many commercial flights available, it is noted that many of the Executives have their own, personal planes which may be kept at the airport. 

Finally, the film highlights Harrogate as the ideal place to live.  While the Executive finds it easy to make friends down at the local pub, he and his wife also find it an ideal place for their children to go to school.  There is a variety of nightlife to keep anyone entertained, and the happy couple are shown enjoying themselves at a dance club.   

The film closes with final sentiments reflecting on Harrogate’s carefully planned development to enhance the basic dignity and charm of the city, and ends with a final shot of boardroom full of businessmen.    

Title – The End – A Zaar Film Production St Annes on Sea – Lancashire England