Film ID:
YFA 1927



Visitor Tabs


A documentary chronicling the creation of York University presented by the Shepherd Building Group, this film includes a brief history of York and its University, highlighting sites in York and various departments and facilities at the University.

The film opens with a montage of buildings and streets in York including Piccadilly, Stonegate, Clifford's Tower and the Minster.

Title | York and its University
Presented by The Shepherd Building Group

Further shots of York Minster are accompanied by the narrator's explanation of the Roman history of the city. Uniformed children from the Minster School walk in a line and there is an exterior shot of St. Peter's School. St. Anthony's Hall and St. William's College follow, as well as more general shots of the Shambles and Stonegate. These cut to a 17th century petition asking for a University in York which according to the commentary was refused. There is a view of Low Petergate that includes Scott's the Butchers, and a red bus journeys past the Assembly Rooms. The film continues to show sights in York including the Boer War memorial in Duncombe Place and the Mansion House on St. Helen's Square. Still in the city centre, the film ventures inside St. Anthony's Hall, later taken over by the Borthwick Institute, as well as the interiors of St. John's Church (what would become the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies) and King's Manor, where students are at ease in a common room.

The majority of the remainder of the film takes place at Heslington, the site of York University. It begins by showing the Elizabethan Hall and the early construction work taking place on the land surrounding it. A Shepherd's lorry transports Portakabins through the city centre and the architects (from Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall and partners) walk through the muddy site and look at their plans. An excavator digs up earth and a cement mixer is seen, whilst the narrator explains that the construction will be based on the Clasp System of building. A heavy roller smooths the cement and drainage pipes are set into the concrete. Next, a surveyor positions the pins on which the steel frame will rest and uses a winch to lift them into place.

Glass pipes are fitted for the chemical waste from the university laboratories and a plumber helps to weld the copper piping in other parts of the construction. By this time the film is set in summer, as a Newsom Timber Engineers truck arrives on site. A foreman carries the wood up a ladder and it is sawn to ensure that the floorboards are the correct length. Having put the skylights in place and nailed down the flooring, the pre-cast concrete panels can be lifted by winch into place. With the cladding completed, the grey building appears to be taking shape.

As autumn passes to winter, the film shows the outdoor walkway being constructed and the Shepherd's employees tiling a floor and insulating the pipes in one of the student accommodation blocks. This is followed by shots of the completed campus and the interiors of a lecture theatre, classroom and common room.

A sign reads: "This College was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 22nd October 1965". The Queen walks with the Vice Chancellor Lord James of Rusholme, who then does a piece to camera explaining the ethos of the university and placing particular emphasis on the efficiency of the building work and the need for a wholesome environment for the students. A montage of the campus follows, including the dining room, main entrance and a student dormitory. Further shots show physics and chemistry laboratories, where a student scientist is performing an experiment using a burette, before exterior shots of the campus as the film draws to a close.

Title | The End

Title | Produced by Cyril Randell
In association with Film Producers Guild Limited, London