YORKSHIRE BEACHES (1945) film no: 2015
This is a film from the Ibberson Collection which provides a good example of colour footage at the end of World War II. The film documents the family during their leisure time at different Yorkshire beaches including Filey and Whitby.
In a very short portion of black and white footage, the film opens with an older man walking down a country path. There are scenes of the surrounding countryside and picturesque landscape.
Now in colour, Mrs. Ibberson walks around her garden admiring the many flowers. The rest of the family joins her for a walk around the large garden.
Briefly and signalling the end of the War, there is a shot of a VJ celebrations illuminated sign.
The seascape of Filey is captured from on top of the hills. The Ibbersons walk along the sidewalks through the town and make their way down to the sand. On the beach, the family relax in deck chairs positioned near small huts. The Ibberson boys run towards the water, with sandcastle buckets and shovels in hand, and play in the surf.
With their mother, the boys walk on the hills and near the lighthouse which overlooks the beach.
The boys and their father are now all in swimming costumes and play around in the water. Many people help to push a large rowboat, which is situated on a two-wheeled kart, to the sea. The boat is launched with a few members of the family as passengers as they work to row the boat beyond the breaking waves.
Now at Whitby Harbour, the family walks along the dock as the film captures the sea front as well as many of the boats docked there. On the beach, the family runs towards the camera, hand in hand, and towards the sea. The family together plays Ring a Ring o’ Roses all falling into the water.
The film closes back in the family gardens with many of the women and children relaxing and enjoying the scenery.
This is one of many films by a local amateur filmmaker, “Billy” Ibberson, made over a period of sixty years. Born in 1902, William Ibberson was the son of a wealthy Sheffield steel maker, George Ibberson. The Ibbersons owned a company going back to the seventeenth century, and which became the first company to manufacture stainless steel cutlery: George Ibberson & Co., Violin Cutlery & Plate Works, 112-116 Rockingham Street. It still exists today (June 2009) as part of the Egginton Group of Companies.
Ibberson started out taking and developing his own photographs, but was inspired by the potential of cine film to start filming in the 1920s, and carried on into the 1970s. His general belief in high standards led to developing himself into an accomplished filmmaker. He always took a camera with him, sometimes two, wherever he went, using 16mm film just after it came out. Many of the films made by Ibberson were of family occasions, such as weddings and holidays. He would then edit together 400/800 feet reels from the original 100 foot reels, and, having sent to them Kodak for processing, would show home screenings for family and friends.
Ibberson worked to promote Sheffield industry at home and abroad, and he made a number of films as part of this. As a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce he made visits overseas, both before and during the war, to promote Sheffield trade. Some of these trips he filmed, especially in the U.S. of Washington, New York (the Brooklyn Bridge being built), Chicago and New Mexico. He made films for the Chamber of Commerce and the Company of Cutler’s, which he would show providing his own running commentary. Ibberson was active in many other organisations, becoming Master Cutler in 1954 – which he also filmed, and which is part of his Collection held with the YFA. Later on he was influential in bringing about the restoration of the Abbeydale Mills in Sheffield, which later became an industrial museum. The work of restoration was also filmed by Ibberson between 1963 and 1966 (see Abbeydale Works, held along with the Ibberson Collection of films at the YFA).
Made right at the end of the Second World War, this film makes an interesting companion to another film on YFAO, Rachel Discovers the Sea, made by Rotherham filmmaker Charles Chislett. It is the simple things that beaches can offer, sea and sand – and donkeys! – that provide a playful relief from thoughts of war. The intertitle in the film of VJ Day, just before the holiday footage, helps to provide the war context which would otherwise not be apparent. Ibberson also filmed the VE Day celebrations in Sheffield.
The film has some lovely shots of Whitby – looking a much less commercialised and busy place than it was later to become – and of Flamborough Lighthouse, built in 1806. The film shows all the Ibberson family, starting with Ibberson senior walking down the country lane, Billy’s wife, Lillian Ibberson née Skinner, Billy himself and his brother, and especially his three sons: Robert, the eldest, John, the middle child, and Charles, the youngest – Henry, who is seen in films taken later, was born the following year. According to the sons, interviewed for the ITV series The Way We Were, Billy used to ‘direct’ members of the family, in a small way just to liven it up, telling the boys to run and do something a bit different. In view of their attempt to push the boat out to sea, it is interesting to note that all three of the boys were to later take an interest in rowing or sailing.