Film ID: YFA 758 Video of YFA_758 V.J. Celebrations V.J. DAY CELEBRATIONS 1945 Visitor TabsDescription Taken by an amateur filmmaker, this film captures Bradford V.J. Celebrations in August 1945. The film includes footage of people dancing and celebrating in the streets of Bradford as well as military processions. The film opens with shots taken from a height looking down onto crowds of people dancing. Singles as well as couples dance as a band plays outside Bradford Town Hall. Some women dance in pairs and others in groups. A crowd gathers around an older woman watching her as she dances back and forth on the street and smiles. There are some shots of illuminations that have been set up around the city centre. In the next scene are shots of more celebrations. Dignitaries including the Lord Mayor and Cecil Barnett stand on the steps of the Town Hall whilst a military procession marches past. The procession includes the Home Guard, the RAF and a military band. There are shots of the large crowds that have gathered on the pavement to watch and the mounted police men that are standing around watching what is going on. The next scene cuts to Bradford Cathedral where members of the clergy and the choir walk in procession out of the Cathedral, followed by the Mayor and other dignitaries. The film closes with another procession, this time including members of the Royal Navy, Wrens and Nurses. Context V.E. Day turned out to be a dull wet day in Yorkshire, but this didn’t stop the people of Wakefield exhibiting their dancing skills as they flooded the city streets in celebration. It was a long time coming, but the people of Wakefield were not going to miss out on getting onto the streets in force to celebrate the end of a dreadful war. Local baker Fred Wilkinson was fortunately on hand to film the dancing, and convey the merriment and the simple general togetherness. The inevitable surrender of Germany had been looming for a while when finally V.E. Day arrived, and this may explain the rather restrained dancing of these Wakefield revellers. Doubtless a sense of mourning may also have dampened some spirits. The V E Day celebrations across the country reveal a variety of dance styles, some reflecting the swing era. Here we see more traditional country and ballroom dancing. Many of these celebrations across the country were filmed by local amateur cine film enthusiasts. Fred Wilkinson used to film the annual Alverthorpe parade and the dog show and then show these at big get-togethers in the local hall. He also filmed himself constructing his own caravan.