Film ID:
YFA 2931



Visitor Tabs


This film documents the Burton Suit Factory in 1950 including aspects of the factory itself and the facilities and advancements in order to ensure employee well being while producing a quality made product. This is currently the earliest factory film of the Burton Collection and features more hand sewing and less machinery. Additionally, it documents the newest technology for testing the durability of the cloth used for the Burton suits.

The film opens with a van moving towards the receiving department at the Burton factory. There the cloth is unloaded, weighed, and measured for length by machine. The different batches of cloth are checked carefully for faults in the fabric, and any found are marked.

In the laboratory, scientists run different tests on the cloth in order to determine durability in strength and colour (by the Fade-o-meter) making sure each will stand up to the normal wear and tear and meet the standards of a Burton suit.

The order for the suit goes to the cutter who uses the tailored designs to mark out the appropriate pieces to be cut from the fabric. The pieces for the jacket and vest are put into one group of baskets on the conveyer and the pieces for the trousers on another so they can be distributed to the appropriate locations of the factory.

In the main part of the factory, women work at their sewing machines. The narrator points out that the factory is light and airy, and music is played throughout the factory for the employees to provide an enjoyable working environment. Also at this time, there are workers making ready to wear suits for the branch location stores.

After going through the assembly line, the suits are inspected, loaded onto the truck, and dispatched to various locations around the UK.

Specifically, at the shop in Leeds, a man comes in to pick up his suit which he has specially ordered. The stores offer private fitting rooms with day lighting and ample mirrors.

The next portion of the film centres around employee welfare. The film begins with a woman entering the health facilities where a nurse takes care of her. The welfare of the employees is very important and taken into close consideration. A few of the services available include dentist exams, manicures and hand massage, eye exams, and simulated sun exposure.

After showing the medical facilities, the film moves onto the food service facilities available to both members of the factory staff and management. In the bakery, the bakers are making bread and rolls, muffins and cupcakes. The images of the bakery include both that of machinery and food made by hand in a more traditional manner showing the balance between man and machine. Newly baked large loaves of bread are pulled out of the oven, and are then to be cut into 60 slices a piece according to the commentary. Women are also working to ice cupcakes and also fill them with cream. After a glimpse of the pastry press, there is an overall view of the entire canteen and kitchen along with many members of kitchen staff. During a point at which one of the bakers is in the process of making a pie, the commentator makes a point to say the same food is served to all members of staff, both workers and management, and separate dining facilities is the only difference in terms of the food service provided for the company. The fish and chips range is also present in the kitchen facilities. As it is now mealtime, workers run down the hall towards the canteen where they are to line up and get their food. Long tables and chairs are also available for the workers to sit and enjoy their meals.

In the machine room, members of staff work with paper punch cards in order to record and calculate different statistics having to do with the business. Additionally, branch transaction accounts are all recorded in this central area from different Burtons branch locations in the UK.

The final facility present in this film is the electrical switch room. Here, all the electric components of the factory are controlled and managed including the phones, music to work to, lights, etc.