Film ID: YFA 2171 Video of YFA_2171 Stillington 1935 STILLINGTON 1935 1935-1938 Visitor TabsDescription The film is a document of events in Stillington and surrounding area taken by G F (Freddy) Baker who owned an electrical shop in Easingwold. It includes repairs to the methodist chapel, celebrations for the coronation of George VI and scouts camps. Many of those seen in the film are identified. The film begins with a shot of York Road in Stillington where a J.S. Metcalfe butcher's van can be seen. There are then shots taken from the front seat of a car driving along Stillington High Street, before a cricket match and a brief shot the Reverend H. W. Smith sat in his car. Next is a shot of the exterior of The Boys Hall, where there is a sign advertising the existence of the "Scripture Union every Thursday Evening". In front of the village school, two boys (Les Moreland and Geoff Metcalfe) prepare the garden. Back at the Boys Hall, construction work is under way to renovate the Methodist Chapel. On the roof, two men (George Gospel, with moustache and Clarence Shepherd) remove the coping stones and make the necessary repairs, whilst two boys (one of which is Ted Wilson) carry timber planks inside. The film then moves on to the coronation celebrations in 1937, where a Union Jack is raised on the flagpole of the Boys Hall, or Methodist Day School. Two boys George North and Raymond Souter (or possibly Ted Wilson) leave the Boys Hall on their bicycles . George North shows a copy of the Coronation programme that they are selling to the camera, and Sparrow’s dog is nearly run over by a passing car. In a field a tree is planted with a plaque that reads: "This tree was planted to commemorate the coronation of H.M. George VI May 12th 1937". Three people, including Eric Bullen and Margaret Bullen (children of Dr Charles Bullen), are walking in the cemetry where a commemorative tree is being planted, wathced by a small crowd, including Algie Richardson, Mrs Newman (or Miss Maskill) and the Rev. W Smith. This is followed by a traditional maypole dance in the village, with Margaret Averil (the school teacher’s daughter) as the May Queen and Peggy North as her lady in waiting. Olga Richardson (later Midgley) is stood next to them (in trousers). Also there is Mrs Metcalfe (the school master’s wife) wearing a top hat. Mrs Newman (in white hat) is walking with Margaret Averil and Peggy North. The train bearers are Cath Morefoot, Roa Moreland, Cath North and Muriel Spruce, with Charilie Morefoot carrying the crown on a cushion. Elsewhere, two men are dressed up as King (Frank “Trot” Knowlson)and Queen (Mr Algie Richardson) wave to the camera and the street parade continues. There is a donkey pulling a cart and a fancy dress parade – with Mrs Dorothy Shepard wearing a boa and Janet Richardson with blackened face, Lily Spence dressed as a peirrot and Nancy Bradley dressed in a white pinafore. before the May Queen follows, her train carried by her attendants. The next passage shows the Stillington Scouts in their neckerchiefs and woggles, going for a hike with sticks and hats. There are views of a camp at Robin Hood's Bay and a hike at Littlebeck. At Whitby harbour the scouts take a ride on a speedboat and one of them (Geoff Metcalfe) covers himself over to stop getting drenched. They go for a swim in the sea, with one person doing swimming acrobatics and another swimming while smoking a cigarette. Back at camp there are shots of boys playing at wrestling and climbing up a wooden pole. A group of scouts are sat near a grass bank which has “1938” marked on it. They board a single DMU train at Egton station. They are next at a scout camp at Robin Hood's Bay, washing up and eating a meal, before heading to Sandsend and the Littlebeck swimming pool. Some stand on a fence next to a railway line watching a train passes pulled by a steam locomotive. They cycle along a coastal road and then stand on a swing rigged to a tree before walking along the River Esk. The scouts cycle home to Stillington from Flagstaff Farm and the film comes to an end. See background file for more names of those filmed. Context This film was made by Freddy Baker who lived in the nearby town of Easingwold, North Yorkshire. He was an electrician who owned a shop in the market town of Malton, whose hobbies included amateur filmmaking. Mr Baker produced several films in and around Stillington and Easingwold, of which Stillington, York, And Easingwold is also available to view on the Yorkshire Film Archive’s Website. The films got passed on to a work colleague, and in 2000 the films were given to Donald Brown, who was organising centenary celebrations in Stillington. From there, these invaluable films showing village life in the 1930s made their way to the archive, now available to millions of people. Stillington is a village and civil parish, part of the Hambleton District of North Yorkshire. It is situated between York and Helmsley, approximately 10 miles north of York. The first written recording of the village’s existence was in the Doomsday book, with a whopping 6 households. The village was recorded as having a population of 600 in the 1881 census, and the most recent record in 2011 was a population of 782. Unfortunately, the census data for 1931 is unavailable but hopefully this data gives a rough idea of how populated the village would have been the year this film was made. The village’s claim to fame is that Lawrence Sterne, author of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, was the vicar of this parish from 1745 to 1768. Some of the residents he interacted with during his time serving the parish inspired some of the wild and wonderful characters in Tristram Shandy. Despite the novel essentially being un-filmable, it was adapted into a 2005 film called Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, which starred actor and comedian Steve Coogan in the title role. The film received critical acclaim. In the film we see repairs being made with the help of some boy scouts, to the roof of the Methodist Chapel. The building was Wesleyan, and built in 1844. The chapel has since been replaced by a more modern structure in 1971. Scouting was first introduced at the turn of the twentieth century, as an attempt to garner support for the British Empire and to encourage imperialist ideology within Britain’s youth. Attempts were being made across the nation to encourage imperialism; with many popular songs, poems, advertisements, exhibitions and more devoted to promoting and celebrating the British Empire. Rudyard Kipling’s writings are good examples of this. Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts in 1908, the boys being told that they were “defenders of the empire”. Baden-Powell had written an army manual whilst serving in the Boer War called Aids to Scouting and had discovered that this was being used by young boys back home. He was encouraged to re-write it for the younger audience and in 1908 his book Scouting for Boys took the country by storm, with scout troops appearing all over Britain and the idea soon spread internationally. The British Empire had begun to decline by the time the First World War had ended, with Britain’s imperial policy significantly less confident and expansive. Confidence in the Empire was dwindling, but by the 1920s and 1930s imperial sentiment was strong again thanks to Girl Guide and Boy Scout literature. The coronation of King George VI, celebrations of which are seen in this film, marked a peak in interest for the empire, although by this time it was more nostalgic than congratulatory. Retail giant Selfridges put on a huge display for the coronation, the entire outside of the building was transformed to show allegorical figures representing parts of the Empire. We also see celebrations taking place in the village for the 1937 coronation of King George VI. These celebrations look like they involved some kind of role-play or mock coronation, with villagers dressing up as members of the royal family and making a proper event of it. This epitomises Britain’s love affair with the monarchy, 80 years on and we are still throwing street parties and all-day celebrations for royal birthdays, births and jubilees. George VI is most well-known for his pronounced speech impediment, (recently depicted by Colin Firth by an award-winning performance in the 2010 film The King’s Speech) and for replacing the King who famously abdicated, Edward VIII. In 1936, Edward VIII gave up his place on the throne in order to marry an American Divorcee named Wallis Simpson, which greatly damaged the monarchy’s reputation with the British public. Understandably, the suitability of George as king was doubted by many, as he was not well educated, in poor health, shy, and with a very obvious stammer. Despite these initial reservations as to the suitability George, the people of Stillington look to be very enthusiastic about their new monarch. However, it did not take long for the rest of the British Public to fall in love with the King. In 1939, he visited the US and Canada, the first British Monarch to do so, a long 161 years after America’s Independence. This was because Britain desperately needed to prevent the powerful US from isolating itself any further from the events unfolding in Europe. George IV was very popular and helped boost morale during the Second World War: he remained in London during the blitz rather than escaping to safer, more rural areas; he overcame his stammer to make inspiring radio broadcasts and address the whole nation; introduced the George Cross and George Medal to award gallantry and bravery to those at war; travelled to meet troops fighting in France, Malta and Africa, and visited cities and factories at home that were affected by bombing raids. He was truly loved by the British public, and is still remembered fondly today thanks to his story being re-told for the modern audience in the 2010 film The King’s Speech. References: http://www.stillingtoncommunityarchive.org/index.asp http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/north/vol2/pp187-190 Panton, James, Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy, Scarecrow Press , 2011. Marshall, P.J. The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, Cambridge University Press, 1996. Garrity, Jane, Step-Daughters of England: British Women Modernists and the National Imaginary, Manchester University Press, 2011.