Film ID:
YFA 5237



Visitor Tabs


This is a three part film tracing the path of wheat from field, through the process of milling and baking, and finally to the shop.  The film was commissioned by Harry Burgess, the owner of Thornton Mill in Thornton le Dale.  It also shows the Derwent hunt, a point to point race meet at Charm Park and Pickering Carnival. The second part shows the grain arriving at Hull docks and being taken to the mill where it is ground, and is used as animal feed for chickens at Spinks Farm in Easingwold.  The third part shows the hatching of chicks, and animal feed being used for pigs and cattle.  It also shows flour being delivered to shops around Middlesbrough, and baking, including at the Jacobs biscuit factory.  Footage was shot between 1947-1953.

Title - The Story of Wheat

The film begins with a farmer on Hagg Farm spreading manure on a field which is then ploughed with a horse drawn plough.  He then seeds the ploughed field by hand using a tin bucket strapped around his shoulders.  Then, he again using a mechanical device pulled by a tractor.  Another device then covers the seeds, while a third pulls up weeds.  Again the seeds are covered, this time with a horse drawn contraption. 

The film moves on to winter with cows eating hay in a snow-covered field, and a girl and her dog are out tobogganing.  The village of Thornton le Dale is also covered in snow, with residents walking past the New Inn pub.  There is a road sign for Whitby, Scarborough and Malton.  A man pulls a small sledge with various cans on it, and children have a snowball fight.

Later in the year, after the snow has gone, the Derwent hunt gathers in the village. They set off along a railway line and across fields.  The film returns again to a horse drawn plough and raking.  Following this is a point to point race meet at Charm Park, Wycombe.  Bookies stand all lined up, including Howard of Leeds.  Large crowds watch the race. 

There is a peacock in a garden, and then the farmer spraying his crops.  The Burgess and Sons Mill is decorated with the Union Jack, the flags of Wales and Scotland, and a plaque to commemorate the 1953 Coronation.  Then there is a Mayday procession of schoolchildren before moving on to Bridlington and people on the beach, and with boats in the harbour.

The next section of the film features an agricultural show, where cattle and horses are on display.  There is also a fox hunt which is followed by steeple jumping.  After the Show the animals are led back into their crates. 

It’s time for the Pickering Carnival, and the Carnival Queen of 1952 is Miss Julie Monkman.  She is a grocer’s daughter from Thornton.  There are a variety of very impressive and colourful floats, including one for Burgess, with a Windmill and a water wheel, and one for ‘Peace’.  The film shows the main roads in the centre of Pickering, with cars and pedestrians, followed by a look at Pickering Castle.

Now in autumn, a farmer and a boy walk through a field of barley at Morleys Farm in the Marshes.  The farmer then cuts the crop with a scythe and bundles it up.  A crop in another field is cut with a horse-drawn harvester.  The crop is bundles ready for collection, with the boy playing in one of the bundles.  The bundles are loaded onto a horse drawn cart and taken to the barn where they are stacked.  The farm labourers stop for a sandwich and tea.  More is collected on a cart pulled by a tractor and collected in large piles. 

There is a brief look at Fountains Abbey before looking around the heather moorland.  The crop is put through a harvester and the seeds checked.  Then a combine harvester works in another field, backing up the corn as it does so, and the film comes to an end.

Part 2:

(Col.) The second part begins with three harvesters lined up and cutting corn in a field.  The corn is bagged up and loaded onto a trailer.

(B&W)  The cut crop has been put into piles in a part flooded field.

(Col.)  The hay is now drying in a field.  Then on to the livestock market at Malton, with cattle and sheep.  A group of men examine samples of grain, standing in front of the Burgess and Son van.  There are more views around the farm, with more bags of grain being loaded onto lorries and taken to the mill.  Here the grain is examined and unloaded.  At Hull docks grain is loaded onto barges, and cars are loaded onto ships for export.  Back at the mill more grain is being unloaded, possibly coming from the docks.

(B&W)  The grain is shifted and ground in the mill.  Men and women in white overalls check and clean the machines.  Samples of various types of flour are laid out.  The sacks are also cleaned and repaired before being filled with flour and animal pellets and loaded onto lorries.  Some of the flour is packaged into small bags for home use, with women working on a conveyer belt.  One of the women workers holds a bag up for viewing as they are packaged and loaded onto pallets.

The film moves to the laboratory where the flour is tested.  The dough is stretched on a machine to test its elasticity.  Back in the mill, flour is being put into sacks.  Some is made into ‘dairy cubes’, which are also bagged.  Some of the bags are ‘pure white flour’ and others ‘poultry food’.  Lorries leave the mill loaded up with the sacks.

(Col.) Two other Burgess lorries, of large white tanks, also set off from the mill. The film then shows an old combined wind and water mill, with a Burgess lorry delivering sacks of grain.

(B&W)  There is a sign for Prospect Farm at Easingwold, and for their ‘Spinks super quality chicks’.

(Col.)  The chickens are shown in their coops in a field, with examples of their eggs.  A woman handles some baby chicks.  There is a sack of chick pellets from Burgess.  A woman feeds these to the chickens.  There is also a sack of Burgess ‘Laying Meal’.

(B&W)  A man and a woman pack eggs into wooden boxes. These are put into an incubator and emerge as chicks, which in turn are put into boxes labelled ‘live chicks, handle with care’.

Part 3 follows
(B&W) The third part of the film opens with a large electronic incubator for the eggs, and a man sexing the new-born chicks.  The chicks are then packaged into boxes and loaded into the Pinks van.  There is then a large room filled with chicks.  A woman stacks eggs.

(Col.)  The film moves to a horse drawn cart carrying sacks along a country lane.  The sacks of Burgess pig meal are unloaded at a farm.

(B&W)  Piglets feed from their mother.

(Col.)  Pigs roam around in a hay filled pen, with two farmers looking on. There is a bag of Burgess ‘Pig Food’.  There is another pen filled with sheep.

(B&W)  Cattle are out in a field, and then in a barn along with calves.  These are fed Burges ‘Stock Food’ and ‘Dairy Cubes’.

(Col.)  A bull is tethered in a field. There are some stables with horses and a farm hand shows a cow with a full udder. 

Now in York, there is footage of various parts of the city starting with Walmgate.  Next, there is a view of the Minster taken from the walls near Station Road.  This is followed by a shot of the Guild Hall and River Ouse before footage of Bootham Bar taken from Exhibition Square.  At Micklegate, traffic goes through the arches as it enters the city.  The Burgess lorry makes its way past York Minster before arriving to make a delivery at Woolgrove Bakery on the corner of Heslington Road.  The large bags of flower are hoisted up to the first floor window.

(B&W)  Inside the bakery the flour is emptied into a large machine for making dough.  When finished the dough is taken out of the machine and cut into pieces.  The pieces of dough are put into another machine which makes them into the correct shape for then being put into oblong bread baking tins.  Other pieces are formed into round loaves.  These are then all put into a large oven.  The finished loaves are unloaded onto trays.

(Col.)  More Burgess lorries carrying sacks of flour arrive at the Jacobs Chocolate Biscuits factory (in Aintree).  There is a lorry advertising Jacob’s Cream Crackers.  Here the sacks are unloaded.

(B&W)  Inside the factory, the flour is made into a doughy mixture.  This is made into thin sheets which get transported along a conveyer belt and cut into cream crackers.  At the other end the cream crackers get packaged by the women working on the conveyer belt.  In another part of the factory the flour goes into machines for making pastry.  The finished pastry is cut into various shapes for making pies.  Each stage of the process is documented.  Workers making pies, mainly women, work at astonishing speed in adding the filling and the tops to the pies, and/or cakes.  Many different pies or cakes are being made and baked.  The film then switches to the inside of M. Wright & Sons grocery shop in York, where the pies are on sale.

(Col.)  A Burgess van drives through Middlesbrough and makes deliveries to several stores: J W Trees, B. M Peacock and Bell, S V Hindson and Son.  At the last store a woman buys a bag of Burgess flour.

(B&W)  Inside a house Miss Lizzie Harland, the Burgess family cook, makes loaves of bread at Beck Hall.  She is using a bag of Burgess “Pestle” wholemeal flour.  She also makes some jam tarts which two children, Ashley and Ann Burgess, enjoy.

(Col.)  The film finishes showing scones and other cakes that have been made with Burgess self-raising flour.

Title – The End