Film ID: YFA 121 Video of YFA_121 It All Began with Velvet IT ALL BEGAN WITH VELVET 1955 Visitor TabsDescription This film documents the history of weaving, specifically velvet, by Lister Co. at Manningham Mill in Bradford. It shows the industrial processes connected with design, weaving and finishing of furnishing fabrics. It includes many scenes of the workers at the mill as well as some domestic interiors and suites (which may be of social interest.) The film opens with titles: It All Began With Velvet Lister and Co.'s Own employees appear throughout the sequences taken in their own mills. Animated Diagram by the National Film Agency Sound Recording at United Motion Picture Studios, London Commentary by Frank Phillips Directed by E. Milton Stoney Produced and Photographed by C.H. Wood It All Began With Velvet The film opens with velvet cloths and proceeds quickly to shots of the countryside and architectural remnants of the Middle Ages such as castles, churches, and monuments. The commentary explains how these places were originally decorated with velvet weaved by local artisans. There are illustrations of looms and weavers to accompany this commentary. It then goes onto explain that the current practice of weaving was brought over by Flemish weavers, and the majority of the weaving took place in cottages like the ones shown. Specifically, velvet was used in churches to reflect the opulence and beauty of the large stained glass windows and painted ceilings. The industry began in Bradford at a factory first fuelled by waterpower. There are examples of many different factories and mills as the commentary explains the various forms of power through the Industrial Revolution. Lister Co Bradford (1875) - here there are interior and exterior shots of the mills, specifically Manningham Mills. The workers are situated at looms making various types of velvet. Different types of velvet, such as crushed or patterned, require different weaves. There are shots of various workers at the factory including technicians, weavers, craftsmen, and designers. The commentary also explains how the loom creates the different types of weaves required to create the different types of velvet. Additionally, the designers must be very knowledgeable taking into consideration different weaves and connecting them to current fashions and tastes in order to satisfy customers. The process from paper design to the realization of that design in velvet form is also documented and explained. Lister and Co. also employs many technicians responsible for creating and matching colours and testing the durability and quality of the velvet produced by the factory. The different machinery and tests which they conduct are documented here. Colour tests are made in accordance with the British Colour Council (founded 1930). Additionally, Lister has created colour themes based on classic paintings by famous artists in hopes to help the housewife easily decorate her home. The film moves on to give examples of the many uses of velvet fabric including: furniture in homes and businesses, curtains in homes as well as larger curtains in theatres and cinemas, and upholstery for seats in various modes of transportation. One of the advancements Lister's technicians have made is a "wipe-dry" (waterproof) velvet which is used as the upholstery for bus seats in the British Transport System. Examples of the waterproofing can be seen. The film closes with a montage of various uses of velvet, an aerial shot of the mills and the following credits: Spun, woven, and dyed by Lister & Co, Ltd. - Manningham Mills, Bradford, England The End. Context Fabrics galore burst into a Britain just recovering from war rationing, with mohair velvets, moth protected carpets and waterproofed textiles adorning London Routemasters. This is an eye opening perspective on post-war Britain through fabric. As well as providing a very clear introduction to how fabrics were made at the time, with a focus on velvet, this film gives some great examples of soft furnishings seen in a typical 1950s home. The huge wealth of designs and glorious colours used on furnishings show just how house proud people had become, and also how public transport decked itself out with a modern look. This film is another example of the many promotional films made after the war by Bradford film producers C H Wood. Started by Samuel and John Lister in 1838, Lister's were major forerunners as worsted spinners and manufacturers. At its height Lister's was the largest silk mill in the world, employing 11,000 adults and children. A major strike there in 1890 led directly to the formation of the Independent Labour Party in Bradford in 1893. The Grade II listed mill, in the Italianate style, closed in 1992 –now apartments (renamed Velvet Mill). The actor doing the commentary, Frank Phillips, was a regular, unaccredited, radio announcer in films of the time, and the voice for a recording of Peter and the Wolf in 1949.