Film ID: YFA 2910 Video of YFA 2910 Saturday Morning Out (1951-65) SATURDAY MORNING OUT - HALIFAX ETC. 1951-1965 Visitor TabsDescription This reel of film consists of a number of different films taken around Halifax from varying years and film stocks. Made by the Halifax Cine Club, the films included in this reel are in the following order: Saturday Morning Out - Halifax Mass Exodus - Halifax Wakes Week Hairdressing Competition at Alexandra Hall Steady As You Go Hairdressing Competition for Men Saturday Morning Out - Halifax (c. 1951) Black and White, fading, scratching 156 ft, 5.46 min This film captures a normal Saturday hustle and bustle in the city centre during the early 1950s. It gives an interesting example of contemporary fashions and everyday life truly capturing the look and feel of the time. The film opens with a title card reading Saturday Morning Out. There is a main street in the city centre of Halifax which is crowded with people and automobiles. Surrounding the area are many stores of which Nichole & Browne, Davies & Bamforth storefronts can be seen. There is a policeman in the crosswalk directing traffic helping pedestrians to cross. Behind him there is a poster for the Odeon, and to his side, many billboards with varying adverts. At noontime the city is quite crowded, and people make their way through the city at the crosswalk near Arnold Walton and The Albany Arcade. Along with different cars of the period, double-decker buses also drive through the city centre. There is a man selling fish out of a shop, and an older woman can be seen buying fish from him as others inspect his merchandise. Finally, another cameraman is situated at a roundabout with another man by his side. The film then ends with a line of people possibly queuing for the bus. Mass Exodus - Halifax Wakes Week (1953) Black and White, fading, scratching, 97 ft, 3.36 min This is a short film documenting the factory shut down week for summer holiday in Halifax. The film opens with a number of busses all labelled for different holiday resort destinations including Blackpool and Scarborough. Huge crowds of people, with luggage in hand, wait in lines to board the busses. There are policemen and bus workers assisting helping families to queue up and load their bags onto the bus. One family in particular, including a young man in military uniform, waits on a bench. In addition to the crowds surrounding the busses, there are also large crowds waiting to board at the train station. National Hairdressing Competition, Alexandra Hall (1963) Kodachrome, 142 ft, 5.15 min This film captures a hair dressing competition at Alexandra Hall with models sporting quite unusual and unique hair styles and colours. The film opens with a title card reading National Hairdressing Competition, Alexandra Hall. Different female models are seated throughout the hall while the stylists work to create their own personal masterpiece. Later, the models, dressed in evening attire, sit and await judgement for the competition. Another set of models sit with mirrors in front of them also waiting for the judges to come around. Spectators watching the various aspects of the competition can also be seen in the background. The male part of the competition takes place in much the same way with male models seated in chairs and stylists working to create a unique look. After they are seated and judged, the male and female hair models parade around the spectator area. Finally, the film closes with the award ceremony. Trophies, displayed on a table, are awarded to a number of winners of the competition. Steady As You Go (c. 1965) Kodachrome, scratching, 82 ft, 3.03 min This is a short film of a speeded up journey around Halifax and through the city centre. The film opens with a title card reading Steady As You Go. A man then gets into a car and drives off out of his driveway, down a small dirt road, and onto the main road nearby leading to the main part of the city. The film then speeds up as the driver goes further down the road. There are a few automobiles and some buildings which can be seen, and briefly there is a motorcycle with a side car. The car makes its way round the outer part of the city and then through the city centre. A few landmarks quickly pass and there are some green and orange double-decker busses. The car then heads back towards its starting destination stopping near the Royal Halifax Infirmary. The film then closes with an end title. Hairdressing Competition for Men (1952) Black and White, fading, scratching, 82 ft, 3.03 min This is a short film documenting a men’s hairdressing competition. The film opens with a title card reading August 25 Hairdressing Competition (Yorkshire Area NHF). Men are seated in chairs while men and women stylists work to create the perfect look. The models are still seated when the judges come around to pick the winner of the competition. The film ends with awards being given out to the winners of the competition, who don’t look quite happy during the award ceremony. Context This is a compilation of films made by the Halifax Cine Club during the 1950s. The Halifax Cine Club is one of the many cine clubs formed either before or just after the Second World War in West Yorkshire. They made a great many films, both 16 mm and 8mm, from their formation in 1938 – although the first films that have been donated to the YFA from their collection go back to 1929. It is not known exactly which filmmakers were responsible for the making of all these films, but as their films were usually collaborative efforts probably several members were involved. It is known that Ron Normanton filmed the 1963 National Hairdressing Competition, and that another member, Derek Morley, filmed Steady As You Go. In fact in the first film, Saturday Morning Out, one of their members is seen being filmed by another – which is not unusual for them: Ron Normanton is shown filming in Opening of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Ron also made St Andrew’s Fish Dock, both are also on YFA Online.The YFA has a large collection of Halifax Cine Club films through to the late 1980s; with some others also on YFA Online, such as The Pace Egg (1961) and New Horizons (1952), which do credit the filmmakers: Peter Boocock and Eric Marshall respectively. The first film, Saturday Morning Out, is a great example of the value that cine clubs have in capturing places in time. There appears to be no reason for this film other than that; and it achieves it perfectly. The film clearly seeks to show the hustle and bustle of a typical busy day in Halifax town centre, especially around the Borough Market area. The Market itself is a large hall measuring 200 ft by 170 ft. with a 60 ft central octagon dome – now a Grade II listed building. It was opened on 25th July, 1896 by the Duke and Duchess of York (during the same visit that they opened Royal Infirmary in Halifax) and is still a thriving market place. Unlike many large towns Halifax has not shipped all its shops off to a huge out-of-town shopping mall; in fact the other major shopping centre, Woolshops, is also in the town centre. Nevertheless, how many of the family based local shops that can be seen on the film have survived? It seems not many. However, Halifax prides itself in its Town Centre Management Team and Town Centre Forum. And this pride extends to its traffic management. At the beginning of the film, with the camera at the front of a moving car, some cars stop at a zebra crossing, and there appears to be some confusion among pedestrians. This might be because zebra crossings only came into being in that year. Although crossings, with metal studs, go back to 1934 –these also had Belisha beacons (named after the Transport Minister of the day, Leslie Hore-Belisha) – much more emphasis was being put on their use, and flashing Belisha beacons, after much technical problems, were gradually introduced over the next two years. It is also noticeable how many pedestrians cross the street in front of the moving car, and how much zebra crossings are featured in the film, prompting the thought that perhaps this innovation may have been a factor in making the film – although it will be noticed that some of the zebra crossings are already quite worn. Two other related features of the first part of the film deserve a mention as they feature also in the next one, Steady As You Go: the police directing traffic, and the roundabouts. It will be noticed that police are still directing traffic in the latter film, although now wearing white coats, made around 1965. This practice didn’t really die out until a few years later in 1968 when the Pelican crossings came in – after various similar crossings (Panda, Pin Man and X-Way) were tested during the 1960s. In fact one of the reasons why many Zebra crossings were converted to Pelican crossings was to make drivers give way to pedestrians without the need for the presence of police. These have subsequently evolved a number of other species: Puffin, Toucan and Pegasus crossings. As for roundabouts, in both films vehicles are shown giving way to those vehicles already on them – but the rule for this didn’t come in until 1966. Even now, although it is a rule in the Highway Code, like many of the rules it is not of itself an offence, although it can be regarded in civil and criminal proceeding as tending to establish liability. But speeding certainly is. Steady As You Go links in well with the first film as the car journey takes us through many of the streets seen some 12 or 13 years earlier in Saturday Morning Out – beginning the journey, in what looks like a Rover P4, by turning, possibly, into Burnley Road with the famous Wainhouse Tower in view. Much appears the same, unlike Halifax’s neighbour Bradford, whose city centre had undergone major transformations during the same period. This goes too for Halifax Town’s Shay Stadium, which helps date the film as the floodlights probably went up in 1965, when speedway was reintroduced. Shortly before this, during the famous winter of 1962/3, the frozen ground was used as an ice skating ring. The newly refurbished all seater stadium has changed much in the interim, with a capacity of just 6,561, compared to their record of 36,885 in 1953 when they were beaten 3.0 by Spurs in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Before the widespread ownership of cars, holidaymakers, setting off from Harrison Road, would often go away for weekends, either by train or coach. The week off for a holiday was something that developed towards the end of the nineteenth century, when all the mills would close for a week – this being as beneficial to the owners as the workers. At first this was unpaid leave, and it was not until the Holidays with Pay Act of 1938 that paid leave was put into legislation. These holidays were known as ‘wakes week’ after the old religious festival and holiday. During the nineteenth century this become transformed into a festival of fairs with general merry-making and revelry. With time off workers would make trips to resorts, and later railway companies provided special wakes excursion trains. People would save a small amount each week in excursion funds to pay for their yearly excursion to get the sea air. Traditionally this was the second week in July – although those in the film hardly looked dressed for the sun. Both the haircutting competitions were filmed in Alexendra Hall, which used to be a handsome ballroom before making way for offices and Halifax plc. Perhaps because it is the one part of the body that is relatively easy to alter, men and women have styled their hair through the ages in all societies. The relatively conservative style of just a simple haircut, like much else that subsequently become the standard etiquette, was the product of Victorian society. Nevertheless, the nineteenth century also saw the development of more freedom in hair styles and the birth of hair styling competitions: one of the first being in 1874 at Hulme Town Hall, Manchester. These were usually apprenticeship competitions linked in with local branches of the General Association of Ladies’ Hairdressers and Hairdressing Academies. The twentieth century swung from progressive rebellion against moderation, only to return to simpler styles. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that more adventurous hair styles became popular among the less well-off. It is interesting to see the hair styles from 1952, similar to the ones that Liberace sported as young man, showing greased back hair that predate those James Dean or Elvis. In fact the hairstyles have a strong resemblance to those of the Teddy Boys, who around 1952 really took off among sections of young working class men. As the pre-war French salons, like L’Oreal, grew, new British hair stylists came on to the scene. This was when the archetypal effeminate male hair stylist came into the public eye, with celebrities like Raymond, ‘Teasie Weasie’. And along with this came challenges to established notions of sexuality: as Raymond remarked, ‘the majority of women thought that unless you were both queer and French you could not possibly be a good hairdresser.’ As David Greenberg notes, long and stylised hair has long been associated with homosexuality (see References). This might be thought to have changed with the coming of long hair on men in the sixties – given its apotheosis in the 1967 musical Hair. It was also in the 1950s that The Fellowship of Hair Artists of Great Britain created a cadet force of artistically inclined young hairdressers to compete in international competitions as well as British ones, like the Fellowship of Hair Artists’ Rose Bowl or the Gold Trophy Series, which was the leading competition. Among the celebrity winners of these competitions in the 1950s was Vidal Sassoon. The first film shows the National Hairdressing Competition from 1963 for women and men; the second shows the Hairdressing Competition for Men for the Yorkshire Area of the National Hairdressers Federation on 25th August 1952. The National Federation of Hairdressers was formed in 1942 out of an amalgamation of the two largest hairdressing organisations, the National Federation of Hairdressers Limited and the Northern Counties Hairdressers Federation. Its roots though go back to the Oldham Hairdressers' Association founded in 1831. As well as national competitions, and the World Hairdressing Championships, there were area competitions which would be held in a different town each year. A regular national winner and famous local tutor was Leeds based Muriel Hampshire, who would undoubtedly have taught some of the hairdressers in these films. Merlyn Tweedale, the Area Secretary for the Yorkshire Branch National Hairdressers’ Federation, who began his apprenticeship in 1956, has noted on the Way We Were TV programmethat blow drying or blow waving came into men’s hairdressing in the early 1950s. This was somewhat before it was introduced into women’s hair dressing. Women’s styles often followed the Marie Antoinette look, with every hair having to be held in place with plenty of lacquer. Of course, these were not practical hairstyles, but designed to show off the hairdresser’s skills. The main hairdressing competition of today is the British Hairdressing Awards, which started in 1985. (Special thanks to Merlyn Tweedale and Wakefield based hairdressing competition winner, Shirley Norton.) References Caroline Cox, Good Hair Days: the History of British Hairstyling, Quartet Books, London, 1999. Halifax town centre sets standard for roads, pavements and signs, says English Heritage, Evening Courier, Halifax, 18 June 2008. David Greenberg, The Construction of Homosexuality, University of Chicago Press, 1990. A History of Halifax Road Markings & Street Furniture Pedestrian Crossings Sophia – How to do 1950s Hairstyles The Teddy Boy Movement Wainhouse Tower Caldernet Wainhouse Tower Further Information Raymond, The Outrageous Autobiography of Teasie Weasie, Wyndham Publications, London, 1976.