Film ID: YFA 2923 Video of YFA_2923 The Story of Sheep THE STORY OF SHEEP 1956 Visitor TabsDescription Made by A.R. Smith, this film shows all aspects of sheep life including how wool is made, sheering, showing, vaccinating, and scenes at the butchers, as well as many scenes of 1956 Great Yorkshire Show. Titles: "The Story of Sheep" "Filmed and Edited by AR Smith" "Our story begins at the Autumn Ram Sales" The film opens with farmers in show ring with rams. They are surrounded by buyers in overcoats and flat caps, and one leans on a crook. The auctioneer stands raised above pen, and various breeds, mainly Suffolk's (black headed), are in pens. A man in a beige coat and hat nods to bid, and another touches his hat to bid. The sheep that have been sold are herded down an ally into the back of a large red wagon with the words "E. W. Reay, Bewholme" on the side. They are transported away, and the wagon drives down an avenue of trees into the countryside. The farmer gets out of the front of the wagon, goes to the back and releases the door, and the sheep run out into a field. A flock of sheep are already in the field grazing. One runs up to another sheep. Title: "Boy Meets Girl". The sun sets behind a tree. Title: "Winter". The ground is covered in snow, and there is a wooden stake in the foreground. Sheep stand on the side of the hill as the farmer fences in the background. It is a sunny day, and there is still a bit of snow on the ground where the sheep graze. Title: "Springtime". A farmer loads straw into a small wooden feeder. He then moves a hurdle next to a stake and hammers the stake in, making pens for lambing time. A small black and white dog sits on a bale next to him. Two small Texel lambs sit on bed of straw, and one Mule lamb is sitting next to its mother in a field. Another Texel lamb is laid out in the field in the sun. Its mother comes and licks it, and it stands up and hobbles over to its mother. A Suffolk pet lamb is fed from a bottle by a little girl wearing a red hat and trousers with a white top. Lots of Suffolk lambs on straw bales in a field. Lambs have grown now, in field feeding from their mothers. Title: "But who'd be a lamb?" A vaccination lies on a crate. The farmer takes it and inserts syringe into unmarked solution in a bottle. He injects lamb in shoulder. A young teenage boy in a sheep pen carries a lamb over to a ledge on the sheep pen. He and another gentleman hold the lamb down, while another brings a hot metal rod and burns the tail off. This is another method of tailing. There is a furnace next to the sheep pen where the rods are heated. Sheep with lambs are being herded down a road by two farmers and sheep dog, lambs considerably bigger again. There are hand sheers hanging on barn door. The farmer takes them and begins to sheer sheep from neck down, and there is a brown and white Border collie sitting in the yard. Next a different farmer uses modern electrical sheers which are much faster. The farmer gathers and wraps wool. Title: "Away to the Mills". View from a vehicle travelling down various country roads. The vehicle approaches a town, passing a black car on other side of road and two pedestrians. There is a wagon carrying large sacks of wool on back and a mill by the side of a river. Lots of equipment is in action inside the mills. One of the workers opens a sack of wool and begins to put it into a machine. The wool is combed through machine until fine. A large number of jars, containing various colours of wool, are on shelves. A hand takes one down and inspects it closer. More machines in mill show the on-going process of sorting the wool. Wool is spinning on jenny, being wound onto spindles - "ballooning". Wool is then weaved. Men lift a carpet-like roll of wool onto table. Title: "Finished Product". A woman wearing a woollen top and skirt goes to pick up a telephone. Title: "After sheering, many non breeding sheep go to market". The same red wagon is travelling on the road. It is parked in farmers market, and the farmer unloads sheep into numerous open air pens. Other farmers gather round pens as bidding takes place. Sheep are running in field, being herded by two dogs into large pen. Title: "Worms necessitate drenching". Farmer doses lamb with wormer using small bottle, forcing lamb to drink a dose. There is a shot of maggots crawling in wool. Title: "Parasites necessitate dipping". A farmer drops a sheep into the sheep dip bath, and another uses a crook to dip its head under. The sheep climbs out and shakes itself off. Title: "Show Time". At the Great Yorkshire Show, lots of people browse the various stalls. There are signs for various animals, one saying "Sheep". Many sheep pens are set up, and signs indicating the breeds are visable: Oxford Down, Leicester, Suffolk, Swaledale, Teeswater, Derbyshire Gritstone, Masham, Wensleydale, blackface and finally a Lincoln. The Lincoln sheep has two red rosettes on its back which say: "Great Yorkshire Show, 1st Prize 1956" and "Great Yorkshire Show, Champion Female 1956". Sign for "Wool". There is a stand with "British Wool Federation" on the side. Inside, two sheep sit in a pen, and the sign above pen reads "RR Taylor". There are many wool stalls and small scale demonstrations in the stalls of how wool is made. Various weaves of wool are on display. A booklet titled "From fleece to fashion". A lady walks down a catwalk in the middle of a stand, wearing woollen checked skirt and plain top cardigan with pearls. Other ladies follow wearing the latest woollen fashions. The back of the book with the words "They all say there is no substitute for wool". Title: "The Butchers' Market". Many sheep are penned up in farmers market, and farmers congregate round and auctioneer who is sitting on the edge of the pen. Title: "Prime Lamb". Poster titled "Principal cuts of Lamb"; showing various cuts. Seven lamb carcasses are hanging up. Different joints of lamb are set out on display with tickets among them saying "Delicious" and "Pick of the Market". There is a cream coloured electric cooker, and a lady takes out a cooked joint of lamb. The film then cuts back to a lamb from beginning of the film which is on the grass - through to dipping etc. Titles: "The End". Context The story of sheep in the East Riding in 1956 is not an especially happy one. From being vaccinated, herded and ringed to drenching, dipping and shearing and having their tails cut off with a red hot iron. Then transported by lorry to market to be penned in and examined, and finally ending up in someone’s oven – we are saved from the slaughterhouse. But in the meantime, lambs frolic on bales of hay, and we get to see a long gone era of flat caps and dark, not quite satanic, mills. This film was made by keen filmmaker Albert Smith, who lived in Skidby, East Yorkshire. Albert was from a family of dairy farmers in West Yorkshire, before moving to East Yorkshire to set up a business buying and selling livestock at markets in Beverley, Driffield and Hull. Albert always took his cine camera with him wherever he went, making documentary type films, including one in the same year on ‘Birds and their Nests’. He would enter these for competitions with the Hull Cine Club. Although the 2006 Animal Welfare Act recognised animals as sentient beings and placed a duty of care for animal welfare, the treatment of sheep has hardly changed since the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act of 1954.