Film ID:
YFA 1931

THE QUEEN OF ENGLISH CITIES

1970

Visitor Tabs

Description

Made in 1970, this is a documentary presenting the sites and monuments of York.  Included is footage of the Mystery Plays, the historic city walls and bars, market stalls, and scenes in and around the city centre.  The film is accompanied by a commentary explaining the historical importance of the sites included in the documentary. 

Title – Armada Presents
 The Queen of English Cities
 Narrated by… Andrew Faulds
 Photographed… by Georges Bekes
 Directed by… John Dooley

The film opens with shots of the York Minster, City Walls, Guildhall, and street-signs. The commentary informs us about the background and historical traditions of York.  This is followed by footage of St. William’s College, Treasurer’s House, and Stonegate.  It is the day of the Lord Mayor’s procession, and he and his fellow dignitaries parade through the streets.  There is also footage of the River Ouse and small city centre streets.  The commentary points out that all the streets in York point towards the Minster.  The streets are full of shoppers and tourists, all of whom are dressed in contemporary 1970s fashions. 

Next is an extract from one of the Mystery Plays.  The players arrive by boat and dock at the outskirts of the Museum Gardens.  A crowd has gathered around to watch the actors perform here at the end of Marygate.  A traditional Mystery Plays waggon has been set up in the Minster Yard, and the main plays will take place at the Abbey Ruins in the Museum Gardens. 

Following the scenes of the Mystery Plays is a montage of people, places, and artwork celebrating the York Festival.  An art exhibition has been set up in the catacombs of York Minster, there is dancing in the city streets near the Castle Museum, and finally there is a special production in the Theatre Royal.  This production is an interactive event for children.  Also part of the festivities is a disco which takes place at the annex of the Theatre Royal.  

The next scene takes place at York Minster.  Interior and exterior footage of the cathedral is included, and the commentary points out historically significant features and the Minster’s roll under different religious rulers.  This is followed by shots of Roman Headstones at the Yorkshire Museum, Clifford’s Tower, Merchant Taylor’s Guild, market stalls being visited by many shoppers, All Saints Church, and the Shambles.  Again, the significance of each of these sites is highlighted by the commentary. 

York’s city walls are an important part of its history, and the film includes footage of the walls and different bars including Walmgate Barbican, Micklegate Bar, and Bootham Bar. 

From medieval buildings to Georgian architecture, and examples of this style are shown including the Mansion House and the buildings along St. Leonard’s Place.  There is also extensive footage of the famous Victorian Street at the Castle Museum.  

The next scene takes place at York Racecourse.  A huge crowd has turned out on race day, and all the excitement during the race is captured.  Following this is footage of sailboats on the River Ouse.  The film ends with shots of the recent Coppergate complex, the Theatre Royal and aerial shots of the city.

Title – The End. 
 An Armada Production