Film ID: YFA 1950 Video of YFA_1950 Opening of JB Priestley Library OPENING OF THE J.B. PRIESTLEY LIBRARY 1975 Visitor TabsDescription Made by Bradford University, this film documents the opening of their new Library, named after J B Priestly. Priestly himself performs the opening along with the Chancellor Harold Wilson. Title – Opening of the J.B. Priestley Library. 15th October, 1975 The film begins with J.B. Priestley arriving for the opening ceremony. There is a small demonstration outside with placards stating: ‘Support the 14’ and ‘Is this a free country?’, and Priestley is handed a leaflet. They tour the Library, where Priestley has presented first edition copies of his works. Mr and Mrs Priestley are received by the chief officers of the University and their wives. The Pro-Chancellor, Mr. A J Fair (?), the Principal, Dr. E.G. Edwards, and other senior staff are in attendance, some of them named in the commentary. Harold Wilson and J.B. Priestly smoke their pipes while drinking tea with other dignitaries. They make their way to the opening where Harold Wilson gives a speech for the opening ceremony, while the film shows the outside and inside of the new building and Computer Centre with a £700,000 computer. There are banks of disk and tape drives and an operator loads a tape. The film shows the inside the new library which has over 250,000 volumes. Then on to see the sports centre and other university buildings, while hearing the whole of Wilson’s speech. Wilson gives praise to Priestley as the camera slowly passes over the titles in his Complete Works, and quotes from The English Journey. Priestly then gets up to make his, very witty, speech, which is heard as we see him walking around and leaving the library with Wilson and standing beside a stone inscribed with the new library name. A student with a placard saying ‘Support the 14’ accosts Priestly as he leaves. His speech continues, with pauses, as he wanders through the library, browsing the books with Wilson. He unveils a plaque commemorating the opening. Priestly is taken to the University book shop and given a tour by the manager, Mr. John Hassack (?). Wilson is taken to the Computer Centre, accompanied by the Director, Mr. Smith, and the film ends showing the outside of the new centre. The End Context This fascinating film offers a candid filmic examination of J.B. Priestley’s literary career, as well as his famous amiable personality, during his visit to the University of Bradford to open a new library. Initially, we follow Priestley as he tours the new library and then later we listen to Chancellor Harold Wilson’s introduction, followed by Priestley’s own amusing closing address. J. B. Priestley is a world-renowned novelist, playwright, scriptwriter, and social commentator. Priestley was born in Bradford in 1894 and his Yorkshire upbringing was a major influence on his work and his worldview. His 1945 play An Inspector Calls is arguably his most well-known piece of work.