Film ID: YFA 1503 Video of YFA_1503 Normanton Gala 1922 NORMANTON GALA 1922 1922 Visitor TabsDescription This film contains footage from a number of processions in Normanton in 1922 including gala celebrations a whit parade. Also included is footage of the filmmaker's family during their leisure time. The film opens with a shot of an indoor swimming pool. Spectators are gathered around the sides of the pool to watch participants in a diving competition. Next, women stand in a doorway. They take turns posing for the camera holding their children. This is followed by women playing with a dog in a field. There is a small dirt road which is lined with a few houses. Occasionally a car passes down the road, and there are also a few pedestrians including a woman in a fur coat who is pushing a pram. The road is not paved nor does it have a sidewalk. Outside the town, the cameraman films the different cars and motorcycles which pass by a particular bend in the road. A hilly landscape makes up the background. A few pedestrians also pass by, though there is no sidewalk, and a motorcycle with a sidecar is among the motorized vehicles which pass by. The next scene is a record of the first gala parade which takes place in the centre of Normanton. The street is somewhat narrow and lined with spectators. Shops are on either side of the road, and many of them have canopies under which the spectators stand as it begins to rain. The procession is made up of both horse-drawn and motorized floats, many of which are decorated in flowers. Among the floats is a horse drawn cart with firemen stood on top, one for medical charities, one for Lyon's Tea, the Red Cross and one for "Merrie England". There is a marching band made up of people dressed as clowns. At the end of the parade, the crowd begins to disperse. Two women are in a field where they play with a dog. There are close up shots of both of the women, and they both do a bit of a dance for the camera. Next is a shot of an elderly woman who smiles for the camera. This is followed by a brief shot of a man riding a bicycle down a steep hill. Next, there are close ups of children, and the family are out rowing on the water. After rowing, the elderly lady and possibly her daughter walk up the street near the boat rental building. On a day out, the filmmaker and his family take a trip to the beach. A woman plays with a dog near the water, and other members of the family wade in the water as the waves come up on the sand. There are other people on the beach as well, and everyone there is dressed in everyday clothing, with their trouser legs or skirts rolled up. This is followed by a blurry shot of a waterfall and later footage taken at the family home. Different family members pose at the front door, and there are close ups of the young children who are made to pose for the camera. The little boy is seated on a small cushion on the front lawn, and he poses for the camera with two dogs. Finally, there is a brief scene of a horse-drawn plough which a farmer uses in a field. The next procession, possibly for May Day, begins on a sunny day. The procession is led by a brass band, and scouts follow. There is also another band made up of members dressed as clowns, and there are people collecting money along the route. Many groups of children follow in the procession foot. Most of the children are dressed in white, and there are some groups in fancy dress. Spectators line the streets, and many of the shop fronts can be seen. Some have canopies. Both members of the procession and of the crowd walk close to the camera, and many take notice either staring or smiling at it. Most of those participating in the parade are on foot, but there are a few floats including a truck with a sign, "We convert coal with gas - less smoke more sunshine." The floats are decorated with flowers, and many of them carry groups of children, like the Poppy Garden float. There is a brief scene of two women are picking wild flowers in a field. Following this is a Whit Procession. It is led by a group of alter boys, and they are followed by groups of school children and scouts. Many of the girls are in white communion dresses, and most of the children wear sashes. Different groups carry religious flags, many with an image of the Virgin Mary. They parade through the streets of Normanton, and spectators line the city street. Shops can be seen in the background. Towards the end of the parade are groups of older children and adults who also take part in the procession. The film ends with a shot of a mother walking down a terraced street with her children. She stops to chat to her neighbour who stands in the doorway. Context Horse drawn carts vie with trucks in a grand parade where civil society meets local charities meets local businesses meets much clowning, offset by a solemn Whit procession. Surrounded by collieries in 1922, the village folk of Normanton take advantage of the relative freedom afforded by the annual carnival to give free rein to their repressed exuberance. And then, after one lot of dressing up comes another, with a more sombre ecumenical Whit Procession. Like many other films of local carnivals in the 1920s, the person behind the camera of this film isn’t known. Neither is it clear what the history of this particular carnival is or what time of year it took place. The carnival continues to this day, now taking place in summer. The mid-Victorian era saw a nostalgic revival of old medieval traditions, and this took off over the following decades into the twentieth century, often led by socialists. By the time of the 1920s May Day carnivals or galas were common, made up of an odd assortment of charity raising, self-promoting local businesses and an odd mixture of dressing up in the fashion of the old mummers plays, or music halls, with a strong dash of nationalism.