Film ID:
YFA 6066



Visitor Tabs


Staged for the first time in 1966, and held each year, the Great Knaresborough Bed Race is part pageant and part gruelling time trial over a 2.4 mile course.  Scores of local handymen and dress-makers are drafted in to decorate the beds and adorn the runners, and the event is a whole town effort.  This particular race which took place on 11th June, 1977, Miss Knaresborough herself is on hand to award the top prizes to the race winners.  

The film opens with shots of a few of the beds ready for the race.  It’s a wet, overcast day, and contestants for the Miss Knaresborough beauty competition are on stage, most of the women holding umbrellas.   A woman dressed in red shorts and white knee-high boots has been selected as the winner, and she takes centre stage to receive her sash and bouquet of flowers.  

There is a brief shot of a man with his dog followed by people wearing varyingly suitable footwear trying to make their way through the mud and puddles along the path.  Some women hold up their flared trousers so they don’t drag in the water.  

One of the beds is decorated for Look North, Leeds.  All the teams who participate in the race have men who push the bed and a woman rider.  There is more footage of all the different beds and teams who will participate in the race including themes on medieval knights, Scottish cabers, and men dressed as ladies in waiting.  

Now at the starting line, crowds line the race route despite the weather, and the race begins.  The race is filmed from different vantage points along the route.  Parts of Knaresborough can also be seen along the way including some narrow streets.  The race passes the steep hill near the train station as the beds roll down the cobbled street.  A policeman stands to direct traffic at an intersection, stopping cars so the racers can cross the road, and the walkways are lined with spectators.  

The final part of the race is filmed from near the finish line where the ground is quite wet and muddy.  Tired runners recline on the ground and drink lots of water as team after team cross the finish line.  Many of the runners are out of breath.  

An awards ceremony takes place on the stage near the finish line.  A man, who may be a local celebrity, is accompanied by Miss Knaresborough.  The man hands out awards including a box of beer to a man dressed as an undertaker while Miss Knaresborough presents the woman rider with a bouquet of flowers.  The Lord Mayor is also on hand to present awards.  A trophy goes to the wining team, and in front of a cheering crowd, the teammates drink from the trophy.  There is footage of the crowd and a very muddy field before the final shot of the film focuses on a car with a model of one of the beds on its roof.