Film ID:
YFA 1228

YORKSHIRE CURIOSITIES

1959

Visitor Tabs

Description

This is a documentary film made by Jack Eley about interesting historical sites in Yorkshire.  The soundtrack features an audio commentary against a musical background of a brass band playing various tunes, starting and ending with ‘On Ilkley Moor bar t’at’. 

Title: ‘Yorkshire Curiosities’  ‘A search for the strange and unusual through the County of the White Rose.’

The film begins with a map of Yorkshire identifying the three Ridings.  The commentary points out that the name ‘Riding’ comes from the Norse meaning ‘a third’, and that York, right in the middle, constitutes a county on its own. The film then closes in on York on a different map with historical figures. 

Just outside Micklegate Bar in York, a policeman directs traffic through the intersection, and the filmmaker captures a close-up of the battlements on the bar.  A group of people walk along the city walls, and the Minster can be seen in the background.  There are also some other views of the city wall.  Shoppers walk along the narrow street of the Shambles.  The timber framed buildings can be seen before scenes of York Minster.

The film returns to the map to show North Yorkshire and Upleatham, where the smallest church in England can be found.  Returning to the map, Rotherham is shown.  There is a shot of the chapel bridge across the River Rother before moving onto Wakefield where Yorkshire’s other bridge chantry is located over the River Calder.  Additionally, Newport Bridge at Middlesbrough, is seen from the ground and from the top, as well as Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge in operation.

At Bolton-on-Swale, there is a church yard with a monument to Henry Jenkins.  The commentary explains that Jenkins was believed to have lived until he was 169 years old.  Another point in the map is shown:  Grosmont.  A road sign indicates a steep hill ahead, and four women and a man push a Morris Minor up a 1 in 3 hill after which some people walk through the old bridge for Stephenson’s railway. 

The next scene shows a ride on Shipley Glen light railway, and then it is onto the railway at Middleton Colliery, the first to be sanctioned by an Act of Parliament in 1758.  In Leeds, there is a factory chimney which is a replica of Giotto's campanile at the Duomo in Florence as well as the one near to this which looks like a candle stick.  Another example of a recognizable chimney is at Wainhouse Folly in Halifax.  This is followed by the site in Halifax where beheadings were performed using a gibbet, a precursor to the guillotine.

Two girls walk around the ‘Devil’s Arrows’ at Borough Bridge, and a few boys climb up on the rocks at Pateley Bridge at Brimham.  There are many unusual rock formations in Yorkshire which the film documents.  The Druid's Temple at Ilton, near Masham, was built in the 1820s, and is shown before the Swastika Stone at Ilkley. 

The film then shows the Bronte parsonage at Howarth, seen from the graveyard, and then to the mill and village of Saltaire.  The source of the River Aire is seen at Malham Cove, and then Wharfedale with the fast flowing river.  Children walk over the stone steps near Bolton Abbey.  The Abbey itself is then shown including the arch through which a road now passes. 

At Rievaulx Abbey in the Hambleton Hills, the commentary explains that this Abbey is unique as it was north to south rather than east to west due to the narrowness of the valley.  At Mount Grace Priory, some people walk around the buildings and grounds, and in the herb garden, a rare bush of Sylvestre shown.  Moving south, to the Horse of Kilburn on Roulston Scar is shown and followed by another white horse, this time in a re-enactment of the ride into Ripon of St. Wilfred in AD 670.  This is where he was received on the steps of the Cathedral by the Bishop and other dignitaries before doing a tour of the town.

The next site on the tour is the Lilla Cross on Goathland moors.  It is shown up close and followed by the old Roman road that lies nearby.  On the Leeds and Liverpool canal at Bingley Five Rise, a boat goes through its five locks.  This is followed by the Dropping Well at Knaresborough.  Also at Knaresborough is Fort Montague which is shown with a large sign painted on its wall, ‘Visit this house in the rock’.  The tour moves to the graveyard watch house in Bradfield, and the medieval weeping cross at Ripley as well as the stocks there.  Finally at the parish church at Richmond, there is a row of shops built into it, including ‘Johnny’s’, with teas and ices.

Over to the coast now, and three women are looking up at the fire beacon at Sneaton near Whitby, which used to warn of invasion.  Then some men and a boy play the traditional Yorkshire game of Quoits.  The metal rings used for the game are seen close up.  The camera then moves across the map of Yorkshire back towards the coast.

In the next scene a woman is shown making Yorkshire pudding.  The commentary informs us that the real test of a Yorkshire pudding is that it should melt in the mouth.  If it needs chewing, it isn’t the real thing.  The woman sieves the flour, adds salt and two eggs and beats this up, before adding milk and water.  She puts a tin with lard into the oven, and when the lard is melted, she adds the batter to the baking tin.  The pudding is then served with a number of toppings including gravy and raspberry vinegar.  The film ends with a spoonful going into the mouth of the camera, and the commentary adds that Yorkshire people are the first to admit that ‘there’s nowt as queer as folk.’

The End