Film ID: YFA 514 Video of YFA 514 Holmfirth Tradesmen's Trip and Blitz in Sheffield (1939-44) HOLMFIRTH TRADESMEN'S TRIP & BLITZ IN SHEFFIELD 1939-1944 Visitor TabsDescription This film documents a trip taken by Holmfirth Tradesmen to the countryside, Buxton and Belle Vue Zoo. Additionally, the film shows the devastation and destruction caused to buildings in Sheffield as a result of the Blitz during the Second World War. Title: ‘Tradesman Trip’ An image of the Holmfirth Chamber of Trade sign is followed by a woman typing, a letter being put through a store door, an entry being made into a minute book and signs showing shops closed, including the shops John Howarth's, Schofield's and Wallaces. One of the tradesmen brushes his teeth and polishes his shoes getting ready for the trip. Intertitle: 'Resolved first stop will be at . . . . ' and ‘Now for the fray . . .' At Gartside’s estate a bus of the Baddeley Brothers Company is cleaned and topped up with oil in readiness for the trip. The driver then uses a starter handle on the front of the bus. There are some brief scenes of bomb damaged buildings in Sheffield, followed by the party of traders waiting outside the Devonshire Arms Hotel (Baslow?), with the women photographing each other sitting on the running board of a car. Then looking onto Headstone Viaduct at Monsal Dale, a coal train pulled by a steam engine passes. They then take a walk along a countryside river in Monsaldale, Derbyshire, and later on, visit the Zoological Gardens at Belle Vue, Manchester. It has an outdoor gibbon enclosure. Firemen use hoses to put out a fire in a large building across a river. There follows a sign for Zoological Gardens and a Ballroom. The End WK Productions Title: 'September 3rd 1939 War' This title is followed by an entry from Samuel Pepys' Diary. Through the window of a model plane’s cockpit, a model town can be seen below along with pictures of Second World War fighter planes. After the simulation there are buildings that have been damaged from the flood Holmfirth in Whitsuntide 1944, including a bridge over a river. A wrecking ball demolishes some buildings, and people are clearing up. Context This film is one of many made by local amateur filmmaker Wylbert Kemp, of which the YFA has a collection. Born at Lockwood in Huddersfield, Wylbert moved to Holmfirth in 1908 where, just before the war, he worked for the Bamforth Film Company for about 18 months after leaving school at 14. Wylbert started making films in the 1930s using 9.5mm film, before, much later on, moving on to 8mm film which he continued with into the 1970s. He may well have been inspired by the Bamforth's, who were famous early filmmakers based in Holmfirth. This was a very active time for Bamforth in making films, including Sharps And Flats from 1915, and Winky Causes a Small Pox Panic and Jessie, both from 1914. Bamforth started in business in 1870 as a studio photographer, then produced magic lantern slides around 1883, and films from 1898. After 1903 they concentrated on picture postcards before returning to films between 1913 and 1915. In an interview for BBC Radio Leeds (13th September 1987) Wylbert states that the early Bamforth films were screened as far afield as Russia – he also mentions some of the locals who appeared in the films, such as ‘Shiner’ (owner of a pub, the ‘Jolly [something]’, in which, as a French polisher, he used to polish coffins), Fred Beaumont and Freddie Pollock. Radio Leeds also broadcast a programme on Wylbert’s book, Holmfirth by Lamplight. For more on Bamforth see the Context for Kiss in the Tunnel (1899). Wylbert states that he would have liked to continue working at Bamforth’s, but he had to take over his father’s barber (and occasional umbrella making) business – it is Wylbert shutting his shop at Waterloo House on South Lane that can be seen at the beginning of the film, followed by Maurice Crossland, a local greengrocer. It was from his business that Wylbert came to make a film of the Holmfirth Chamber of Trade Office, of which he was for a time secretary. He was a man of many talents: a playwright, a poet, a short story teller, historian, painter (miniatures on piano keys), and broadcaster on Radio Leeds. As a member of Holmfirth Camera Club, which included cine as well as photography, Wylbert would sometimes show his films, some of which go beyond family film to document local events, such as Market Day In Holmfirth, again from the 1930s. In addition to his filmmaking, Wylbert was involved in Holmfirth amateur theatre company, and he was a playwright, writing plays for BBC radio and performance by drama societies, including at the Repertory Theatre in Bradford, before and after the Second World War. These were dialect plays, including On Tenterhooks, Tooth for a Tooth, Smoke in the Valley and Bill O’Jacks, about the murder of a landlord and his gamekeeper son on the edge of the moorland above Greenfield near Saddleworth in 1832. These last two plays had professional productions. The plays were published by Watmough Limited of Idle, Bradford, who specialised in publishing plays and poems in Yorkshire dialect. Wylbert was also a successful artist, and as can be seen from the mocked up plane cockpit and model town, Wylbert was prepared to be experimental. This film covers a period just prior to, and during, the Second World War. The YFA also has a collection of films from another local filmmaker, Kathleen Lockwood, a teacher at Hepworth school who filmed communities in Holmfirth and the Holme Valley between 1939 and 1945. It is not clear exactly where all the bomb damaged buildings seen in the film are. Sheffield was quite heavily bombed, and Huddersfield too suffered, but the church in the film looks like Holy Trinity in Holmfirth. The YFA has other film of bomb damage in Sheffield, such as Sheffield At War; and the Context for New Towns for Old has more on this. The excursion that the tradesmen took would have probably taken place during Wakes Week when entire towns would close for the annual week’s holiday – for more on these see the Context for Saturday Morning Out. The film shows the Midland Rail going over Headstone Viaduct at Monsal Dale, which opened in 1863. Due to the Beeching cuts this closed in 1968, and remained closed for 12 years until re-opened as a footpath and cycleway. The Zoological Gardens at Belle Vue, Manchester, opened in 1837 shortly after ones at Bristol and Dublin, and the first one at regents Park in 1828. It remained open until 1977. Among the interesting things seen in the film is the driver turning the engine of his coach using a starter handle. These were used to start vehicles prior to the introduction of electric starting motors in the 1950s – and even then they remained as a back up into the 1970s. Having primed the engine the driver would turn the handle to start it, being careful that it did not backfire. It took a fair bit of effort, especially for a large motor, although it was designed so that the handle would release once started. The coach seen in the film belonged to Baddeley Bros. – Jesse and Leonard Baddeley – which was founded in Huddersfield in 1925 before moving to Holmfirth in 1930. Holmfirth was a handy location because it was within equally reasonable reach of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. In 1933 they acquired a haulage company. As well as many local services they undertook excursions, tours and contract work. Baddeley's was sold to the West Yorkshire P.T.E. in 1976, with the local services coming under the control of Kirklees District. References A copy of the interview with Wylbert kemp for BBC Radio Leeds is held with the YFA. A brief history of Baddeley’s including photos of many of their vehicles. Further Information J E Watmough, Watmoughs 1888 - 1965, Whatmore (Holdings) Plc, Bradford, 1989.