Film ID: YFA 1049 Video of YFA 1049 Harrogate Boardroom of the North 1970-1971 HARROGATE: BOARDROOM OF THE NORTH 1970-1971 Visitor TabsDescription 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 Context This film was donated to the Yorkshire Film Archive by Harrogate Borough Council. We assume that it was commissioned by the Council as a promotional film, encouraging businesses to re-locate to Harrogate. The narrator of the film, John Neville Knox, was the Town Clerk from 1952, later becoming Chief Executive until 1978. Knox received an OBE in 1995 for services to the legal profession. He was an active supporter of the Billy Graham mission, Chairman of the Lawyer’s Christian Fellowship and was a past President of the Lord's Day Observance Society from 1972 until his death in 2001. Knox is the only person to have received the Freedom of the Borough of Harrogate twice, first just before local reorganisation in 1973 and then again five years later. (see Obituary, References). The film presents a fascinating picture of life in 1970: the fashions, shopping, cars, leisure activities and the business ethos. In presenting Harrogate as a place for business, and especially as somewhere that ‘will satisfy the high living standards of top personnel’, the film highlights many of the positive aspects of the town. Somewhat strangely, the film makes no mention of what Harrogate is most famous for: being a major spa town. Even when the Royal Spa is shown, it is the gardens and flowers that are commented upon, rather than the Spa. Harrogate emerged from being a small hamlet into a major town as a result of the discovery by William Slingsby of spring waters in 1571. He claimed that the water was the same as the mineral waters to be found in Spa, in what is now Belgium, and Harrogate become known as the first English spa town. His friend, Dr. Timothy Bright, personal physician to Queen Elizabeth I, claimed it could cure almost anything, including nervous tension and lumbago. From here there was no turning back. In 1663 the first public bathing house was built, and by the end of the century there were twenty. From the late seventeenth century up to recent times, Harrogate has been a major attraction for the wealthy and the growing middle classes. By the 1860s, 30,000 people were visiting Harrogate each year. But developments in modern medicine meant that many of the health claims made for spa waters lost their credibility, and hence interest has greatly died away. The absence of any mention of Harrogate as a major spa town might be due to the desire to present a new and different image of Harrogate. From the early 1950s the Town Council began a campaign to promote Harrogate as a place for holding conferences, initially at the Royal Hall and at major local hotels – the Borough Council didn’t come into existence until 1974. Harrogate soon gained a reputation as a centre for exhibitions, and in 1966 a second exhibition hall was built. This was followed by a third one in 1971, the year after this film was made. In 1981 the Harrogate International Conference Centre was opened, and this has expanded considerably since then. Another aspect of the film is that whereas some of the companies featured in the film are named, like ICI, others aren’t. It is not clear why this is so, given that they would, presumably, be receiving good publicity. Of the companies shown in the film, the former ICI Research Centre at Harrogate has since been demolished. At the time Terylene and Crimplene were very popular materials used in clothing and other articles. Crimplene received its name from Crimple Beck that runs close to Harrogate. The film was featured in an edition of the ITV series The Way We Were on Civic Pride. Other companies that are featured have also since gone: Dunlopillo, Robert Hirst raincoat manufacturers and the department store H Dawson. The Co-op still exists, albeit much changed; and the ‘divi’ stamps, seen in the film, have recently been revived in 2006, after they were dropped in 1976. Of the other attractions that are featured in the film, some are simply facilities that most major towns would have, like the Coppice Valley Swimming Pool - since demolished. Other attractions, like the Great Yorkshire Show, are peculiar to Harrogate. This started in York in 1837, and used to travel around Yorkshire before taking up its residency in Harrogate in 1950. For some background on Harewood House, see the Context for the film Princess Mary Visits Malton. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the film though is the fashion exhibition. The fashions on display clearly reflect the ethos at end of the 1960s with the combination of space age looking costumes – rather like Star Trek – and the white cloak that wouldn’t look out of place in either of the musicals Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar, which both premiered the following year in 1971. [With thanks to Lynne Mee, Communications and Media Manager with Harrogate Borough Council, and John G Roberts, Director ofDay One Magazine.] References Obituary for J Neville Knox OBE, President of the Lord's Day Observance Society, Green Christians, Issue 48, Spring 2002.A Vision of Harrogate with maps, statistics and historical trends.