Film ID:
YFA 2919

IT STARTED WITH WOOL

1950

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is a film which dramatises the history of the textile industry and its effects on the city of Halifax complete with narration, music, and commentary.

The film opens with a title card - History of Halifax and Wool Production
Following the title card are shots of the countryside on the outskirts of Halifax, including some hills with sheep roaming in the open fields. There are two donkeys being led up the path, one by an older man, and one by a boy. Also on the hills of the countryside, a man hangs a piece of textile on hooks while the commentary tells of older forms of punishment specific to the textile industry from the 18th century.

From the perspective of one looking through the window of the house, a family sits inside a small house (in a re-enactment) working away in different aspects of the cloth-making business. While the father is at the loom, the rest of the family, from the young son to the much older grandmother, all contribute to the industry. Additionally, the narration during this part of the film discusses Daniel Defoe's observations during his visit to Halifax in 1724.

Next the film moves focus onto the mills and the power of water and its effect on the development of the textile industry. As a result of the booming industry, many halls and homesteads sprung up. Although many are now in ruin and documented by the film, those still standing and in full restoration are present for comparison including Shibden Hall.

Further effects of the industry are displayed by the various names of city streets and buildings in Halifax. This is followed by images of what modern day Halifax is like in the area surrounding the Parish Church. While the narrator does observe how heavily built up the city has become, he does also state that there is still room for recreation in designated park areas of the city. In addition to the modernization of Halifax, construction of the PN Wickly College for Further Education has also been documented.

As per the industrial revolution, the film next moves inside the large factories of the textile industry. Carpet making in Halifax has become a major business, and Halifax has also become know for its toffee manufacturing as well. The film then closes with an end title.