Film ID:
YFA 5629



Visitor Tabs


This amateur documentary charts the progress of regeneration efforts in Shipley during the 1950s, from the demolition of derelict housing stock to the completion of the new shopping centre in 1957.

Title – Operation Progress

Title – Produced by J. Eric Hall

Title – With the kind permission and co-operation of the Chairman and members of Shipley Urban District Council, its employees, and many of the townsfolk of Shipley.

Outside derelict abandoned buildings, a large bonfire burns. A sign advertises cremations and embalming. Buildings are demolished and dust rises from the rubble.

The Houses of Parliament are seen from different angles across the River Thames.

A photograph of Clement Attlee sits on a windowsill, following which placards are seen with slogans promising that ‘Labour will build the houses for you’. A painting of Winston Churchill is shown, followed by Conservative Party posters advertising Tory house building, which claim 1 million homes have been built between 1951 and 1956.

In a row of terraced houses, washing hands on lines and children play in the street. A row of outdoor toilets stands derelict.

An official street map of Shipley issued by the Shipley Urban District Council (SUDC) is seen, followed by views of broad streets and buildings.

The Chairman of the SUDC is shown wearing his official regalia, followed by newspaper articles from the Shipley Times and Express announcing plans for the redevelopment of the town centre.

After an image of the Town and Country Planning Act 1947, workers from Shipley Building and Demolition Co. are seen at work demolishing buildings, including removing slate from roofs.

Men dig the foundations for new buildings and bricklayers begin work on the outer walls, followed by the upper floors. The houses are seen in increasing stages of construction; joiners add window frames and insulated roofing is fitted. A man ascends a ladder with a bucket of cement balanced on his head.
The existing town and the new housing are observed from a bridge over the river, beyond a field in which horses are grazing. Children ride bicycles and play on the new pavements and grassy areas. A woman sits on her lawn with a baby and small child.

New flats with retail units on the ground floor are shown in construction and then after completion, with shoppers browsing the window displays. Dilapidated shops in the main high street advertise closing down sales. A poster at the Windhill Co-operative Society announces ‘Dividend up again, 1/- this time’.

Shoppers browse goods on offer from stalls on the busy but run-down marketplace, with the Sun Hotel seen behind. In Manor Lane, further derelict buildings are seen, including Shipley Old Hall, which dated from 1593. The commentary notes that the house had been in occupation for 300 years prior to being turned over to the council in 1950, and that its demolition was the subject of controversy. 

On an area of wasteland with houses behind, two men with surveying equipment take measurements and readings. Heavy equipment including a digger is used to clear the area of rubble.

Behind a sign advertising ‘Architect Alan Sunderland, Bradford & Keighley’, the red brick buildings for a shop development are being constructed. A sign announces a branch of Woolworths will open once built. Various construction workers talk to the camera.

The insignia of the Yorkshire Electricity Board is seen and cables are shown being laid. A man wires up electric street lights from the top of a cherry picker. The Star and Garter Inn is seen at the corner of Spurr Road. Men unload bags of Ribblesdale Ltd cement from a flatbed lorry.

The front pages of the Shipley Guardian and Shipley Times & Express from Friday 15th March, 1957, announce ‘Another big Shipley shops plan’ and ‘Nine more shops for new Market Square’.

A crane removes rubble and roofing from a building being demolished. Adjacent to the new shops, carpenters finish constructing bus shelters. The windows of J.E. Sutcliffe, the first of the new shops to open, are seen boarded up, and then open for business and full of merchandise. 

Final preparations are made to store windows along the street, including Higginbotham, Sea Land Food, and the Telegraph & Argus office. The marketplace is shown with new, brightly coloured awnings on the stalls and brand new litter bins installed.

Title – Saturday June First 1957

The marketplace is thronged with people, and a white ribbon is waiting to be cut. Councillor Stanley Rodway, Chairman of the SUDC, and his wife get out of a car and he addresses the crowd from a microphone before cutting the ribbon. The commentary notes that he paid tribute to the work of the councillors in the arrangement of the development scheme. They then proceed to visit some of the shops. A photographer takes pictures throughout.

The film ends with views of the shoppers and the brightly coloured flowerbeds outside the shopping centre
Title – The End

Title – A Hallmark Production