Film ID: YFA 5247 Video of YFA 5247 This Town of Ours 1969-1972 THIS TOWN OF OURS 1969-1972 Visitor TabsDescription This film was made by Halifax Cine Club to commemorate the town by providing an overview of its history, industry, landmarks, local services and sporting and cultural life. Among that which is highlighted are Crossley carpets, the Mackintosh factory, Shibden Park, schools, the library, and recent immigrants. The film originally premiered on 31st May, 1972 at the Halifax Civic Theatre. It was later shown to audiences at the former Alexandra Hall. The film begins by showing Halifax made stone slabs used on London Bridge. Title – This Town of Ours Presented by the Corporation of Halifax Production and Photography by the Halifax Cine Club There is a view over Halifax, followed by an aerial view as the commentary relates aspects of Halifax. Scenes of the local countryside and typical cottages accompany the commentator as he relates the history of the textile industry, including the role of the Piece Hall, inside of which there is a market for fruit and vegetables. Many of its mills are shown, as well as local engineering firms, such as Asquith, producing machine tools. Workers arrive and clock in at Crossley Carpets. Children are out on the streets where there are back-to-back houses. There is another aerial view over the city, highlighting the difference between new and old housing. Washing hangs out of a terraced flat, and across a cobbled street. On the outskirts of the city there are housing estates, with the commentary noting that many residents are unhappy with having to pay the costs of buses into the centre. There are also high rise flats, again noting the problems they bring. A woman sits outside St James tower block. The film notes the role of Halifax Building Society. A large car park is shown filled with cars. Several local factories are shown before stopping at Crossley’s, where a woman tends a machine as a carpet comes off a roller. Another woman stitches the edge of a carpet. The film then moves on to show machine tools being manufactured. At Cockcroft Mann, Bakery and Confectioners, it is stated that Macintoshes toffee was first sold. Inside the Macintosh factory women sit at a conveyer belt packing sweets into Quality Street boxes. Road studs, ‘cat’s eyes’, are shown being made as the story of their invention is told. The film moves on to a stone quarry and Marshall and Sons, manufacturers of stone products. A car drives along the recently opened M62 motorway, which is also seen from the air. At the factory of the local newspaper, the Courier, and man stacks the papers for distribution. The Odeon and ABC cinemas are shown, followed by Essoldo Bingo and Social Club and the Top Rank Club. At the Playhouse there is an amateur theatre production being performed. At the New Victoria Hall the performers in a production of ‘Old King Coal’ are displayed on a poster. On stage a lavish period play is in performance. Then on to the Folk Museum at Shibden Hall, with its gardens, boating lake and playground, where girls ride on the boat swing. At the new swimming pool boys dive in off the diving boards. There are snippet of local football, rugby, bowls, golf, cricket, tennis and speedway. Then many local restaurants are shown, some Chinese ones, and a fish and chip shop, with the fish and chips served on newspapers. So too are many local pubs, including Ye Old Raggolds Inn and Caithwell. Inside the Westgate Hotel a group of men and women sit having a drink next to an open fire. Other bars are also shown, such as the ‘Stone Chair Inn’ where dominoes and cards are being played. At a Workingman’s club pool is being played, and there is a room full of elderly men, all in suits and ties. There is footage of Spring Hall Estate and Mansion as well as another old house where the Education Offices are located. Secondary school children are shown in an Arts class. In the City Library there is a reading session for children. Also shown are Bankfield Museum and Wainhouse Tower. Again the city centre is seen from the air, and an old building is shown being cleaned. Following this are scenes of the greenhouses at Bellevue Park and Manor Heath. There is a display of crocuses in spring along the grass verges of a road. The Parish Church and All Saints Church are shown, as well as the new Salem Methodist Church and the Catholic Church, where first communion is taking place. There is the Town Hall and a drive though the city centre, with the commentary remarking on the problem of traffic and parking. A wide variety of police cars are shown driving around town. Both the bus station and the Borough Market are busy as well as the new supermarket. Here, the accompanying commentary lamenting their bad influence on local shops and the shopping experience. New Asian immigrants are discussed, shown in the town centre and in their own shops selling Asian clothing and textiles. The commentary notes the two-way influence between immigrants and the indigenous population. At George Square there is an open air exhibition. Some shop window displays are seen lit in the evening. The film switches to the Mayor’s parlour where Alderman Joseph Liley is being robed for the new Mayor ceremony, taking place in the council chamber. This is followed by a buffet luncheon in the Town Hall. The Mayor later attends the Civic Sunday church service and the Remembrance Sunday ceremony. Then onto the annual show at Saville Park, where there is a dog competition, stalls, games and rides. Then the annual Charity Gala procession, with many floats, including ones for the ‘Bunny Club’, the Forest Cine Group and the NSPCC. There is also the Charity Gala Queen for 1969. A fire engine comes out of the old fire station on Gibbet Street before it is demolished to make way for a new fire station shown being built. Other new building developments are also shown, including a major road works taking traffic out of the town centre. The film finishes showing more of the town centre and views over the whole town, and with the commentary stating that: “This film has been made as part of recorded history to show our children the changing face of Halifax.” End Credits: Script by C C Thomas, commentary written by C C Thomas, spoken by L S Taylor, editing by A I Webster, G B Cheek, Titles by W MacKenzie Cameramen: S V Barron, W A Briggs, G B Cheek, J E Greenhill, E R Hardy, P Holroyd, K Horsfall, E Jowett, J D Morley, R V Normanton, J F Robinson, C C Thomas, W K Wade, A L Webster Music specially composed by Sandra Bailey LLCM (TD), played by Howard Beaumont (organ), Dudley Conn (drums), recorded by Calrec Sound Studios The End Context This is one of very many diverse films made by the Halifax Cine Club and their enthusiastic members made since their formation in 1938 (and still going). Halifax Cine Club was one of many similar clubs across Yorkshire, especially strong in West Yorkshire where every city and town had one. At its height the club had nearly a hundred members. As well as holding their own meetings and social gatherings, with annual public film shows, the clubs would get together for regional events and competitions, as was the case with this film. It was made at a time when the Club was thriving: it had gone from 58 members in 1953 to over 80 by 1979. For more on Halifax Cine Club see the history by two club members, Ernest Jennings and Peter Holroyd, the Context for Supa Bupa and also the transcript of an interview with, Peter and Kate Holroyd Interview (2007). The film was finished in 1971 and first screened at the Civic Theatre on May 31 1972, where they had shown films before, and then shown to other clubs. The Theatre was formerly the Alexandra Hall until 1963 when Halifax Council took over ownership, giving it an overhaul and renamed it the Civic Theatre (subsequently becoming the Victoria Theatre in 1993). The idea for the film came from Harry Ludlam, who had been mayor in 1965/66. He wanted to take a record of Halifax with him when he went to receive the freedom of Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada (one copy did find its way to Nova Scotia). It took around 1,400 feet of film to make at a total cost of £1,373.26. At the time the film was commissioned in 1969, Ernest Jennings – who died recently in December 2014 – was President of the Club. Ernest was to later recall that: "It was all done on 16mm film and I remember that for the aerial shots we had to charter a plane and one of the members – I think a chap called Ian Webster – had to hold this big camera as they were flying along. It had a spool on the top which kept getting in the way and so in the end he had to turn the camera the other way up and film everything upside down. What a farce." The film is a fine example of a cine club utilising all of its members in a collective project, this one taking two years. Film clubs making films that demonstrate local civic pride were not that unusual, but it was unusual for them to be so self-consciously wanting to make a film to hand down to future generations; as evidenced in this film with the closing words: “This film has been made as part of recorded history to show our children the changing face of Halifax.” Well, this fairly comprehensive overview of Halifax and its history, landmarks, industry, and sporting and cultural life certainly succeeds in that: showing the transition from back-to-back houses and cobbled streets into the modern world. Among the places featured in the film that have now gone are Crossley Carpets, whose Dean Clough complex was closed in January 1982, with serious implications for the town. At one time Dean Clough was possibly the largest integrated carpet mill in the world, with more than a million square feet of space over 20 acres – running for an unbroken half mile up the Hebble valley, and employing 5,000 workers. Other places featured that are now gone are the Odeon cinema, which became a Top Rank Bingo Club, in 1975 and later a Mecca Bingo Club, and the ABC cinema, which closed in 2002. Other places present a puzzle, such as the Essoldo Bingo and Social Club. Mackintosh however, now a part of Nestle, is still operating in Halifax at Albion Mills. 1969 was an eventful year for Mackintosh, having their King Cross Street works demolished to make way for a new by-pass, acquiring Fox’s Glacier mints and then merging with Rowntrees. The factory seen in the film was probably the building on Queens Road, which still bears the inscription "Mackintosh's Chocolate Works", but which closed in 1986. So too the Folk Museum at Shibden Hall and Bankfield Museum remain, as does, perhaps more surprisingly, St James tower block. References Ernest E Jennings and Peter R Holroyd, Halifax Cine & Video Club, 75 Years Of Film Making, 1938 - 2013 Our town, 1969, Halifax Courier, 14 February 2007.