Film ID:
NEFA 17516

YARM FAIR: EGGLESCLIFFE GARDEN FETE 1948

1948

Visitor Tabs

Description

Amateur filmmaker and Egglescliffe Cine Club member, Tom Hudson captures scenes from the 1948 Yarm Fair, an annual event when the High Street is transformed into a fairground for three days in October, and from a traditional English garden fete held in the grounds of the Egglescliffe Rectory, Butts Lane, in the summer of 1948. The film records some of the surviving traditions from the days when Yarm Fair was primarily a commercial agricultural fair for farmers and traders, such as the Saturday morning running of horses for sale up and down the High Street, known as the “Riding of the Fair.” The filmmaker focuses much attention on recording the camera conscious visitors who attend both events, and there are good examples of 1940s women’s fashion in the sequence on Yarm Fair.

The film opens with a shot of Yarm Town Hall clock tower and the camera tilts down to the cobbled High Street around the town hall where a fun fair is in progress. A fairground merry-go-round is turning. Lights decorate the evening fairground rides. Crowds of people are at the fair.

A group of young boys and a girl in a hat appear in the close foreground and look towards the camera. A family group poses, two young girls wearing old-fashioned bonnets tied at the neck. The father smokes a pipe and gives a short wave. In the background there are children’s fairground rides and people browse the stalls.

Impressionistic shots of the crowd follow, as the camera moves jerkily through the fair. Close-ups of people in dark silhouette appear in the foreground, and individual faces of onlookers are glimpsed in the background through gaps in the crowd.

In the next scene a man “runs” a large horse down the High Street as people watch from the roadside. This is the traditional Saturday morning display of horses for sale called “The Riding of the Fair.”

Next, the film records pedestrians moving towards camera. In the foreground, an older woman in glasses accompanies two well-dressed fashionable young women with 1940s “rolled and waved" hairstyles and double-breasted coats. All are smiling, aware of the camera. In the background, a large advert for “Binns Hartlepool” (Binns department stores) can be seen. A light flash into the camera lens then obscures the shot.

Further shots of the fairground rides seen through silhouetted figures of the crowds follow. A group of young men and women leave a fun fair ride [dark shots]. Bright light bulbs decorate the rides.

A young woman and man run out of the path of the camera view. There is a shot of two women, one with an interesting fashionable hairstyle. Aware of the camera, they say a few words and smile.

Men and women fly past camera on an old-fashioned swing and chain carousel, some camera blur recording the speed and excitement of the ride. Yarm High Street buildings are visible in the background.

Shots of onlookers beside the ride [dark shots].

Shots of a children’s horse carousel in the foreground, with men and women watching at the edge of the ride. Young children sitting on the carousel animals stare at the camera as they pass by on the ride.

A general view follows across the canvas-roofed fairground rides, strung with lights. The town hall clock reads 4:35 in the afternoon. Again, a light flash into the camera lens obscures the shot.

Two young women are standing and playing the caged “Ladies Game” at a sideshow stall [dark shots].

After further light flashes, the scene cuts to a medium close up of a raised float carrying a group of seated older men with serious expressions, which rides past towards the town hall for the ceremony of the opening of the fair, traditionally performed on the last day. The group includes the Chairman of Yarm Town Council, his guests and a horn blower, dressed in ceremonial top hat.

The Chairman proclaims the fair open, accompanied by guests.

Pan to the right as the float moves on. The large painted fairground ride sign for “Jack Murphy’s Mountain Ponies” fills the background.

There is a general view of the high street crowds milling around the traveling fair’s stalls, and two plump women cross the road with two children in the foreground.

A sulky, a light two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle for one person, is trotted quickly down the High Street.

The film cuts to a shot of the float and of the Chairman of Yarm Town Council proclaiming the opening of the fair at another location in the town. The Chairman, horn blower and ceremonial guests pose for a photograph in the street. The photographer, with back to camera, is dressed in a 1940s belted trench coat (raincoat) and trilby hat.

Two travelers drive a horse drawn sulky down the street.

There is a shot of the children’s carousel.

Men begin to dismantle the fairground tents. A last few people watch the fair preparing to leave.

A procession of caravans and trailers begin to leave Yarm, including an early British caravan with an unusual shape.

Men dismantle a Waltzer fairground ride. A shot of a group of men and boys dismantling the floor of the ride follows.

General view of Yarm High Street that records the rubbish left in the roadside gutters in close-up. Caravans of the traveling fairground, one with a smoking chimney, are parked along the road. A dog and several men, including one with a long grey beard, are gathered across the street.

The film cuts to a shot of an empty dodgems fairground ride. The cobbled Yarm High Street is littered with rubbish here and there. A couple of men and dogs are ambling in the street with some remaining caravans parked along one side. Two men and two women walk together along the street at night.

A light flash into the camera lens marks the transition to the next scenes, which document the Egglescliffe Garden Fete in 1948.

General view of Egglescliffe Parish Church and its churchyard, and of large gardens where a man is mowing grass around the graves, accompanied by a young boy. The gardens of the Egglescliffe Rectory, near the churchyard, Butts Lane, are being tidied. There is a general view of the exterior of the Rectory. A poster advertises the forthcoming garden fete in the Rectory gardens.

Title: Egglescliffe Garden Fete 1948

Two women are sitting by a hedge at a small portable table, collecting entrance fees for the fete. One of the women, wearing a floral dress and round rimmed glasses looks directly at the camera.

Title: The Fete opened by Mrs Watts

People gather in the Rectory garden to hear the opening speech by Mrs Watts, a young woman with a conservative hat and a leaf motif patterned dress. A man introduces Mrs Watts. She moves to a microphone and makes a short speech. She bends down from the platform to accept a bouquet of flowers from a young blonde haired girl. Mrs Watts holds the bouquet and stands with the vicar and another man.

Flags are strung across the gardens on string to decorate the fete. People (mainly women) are moving around the fete. A woman pushes a pram towards camera.

Title: Professor Fleet provides Punch & Judy entertainment

The puppeteer, Professor Fleet, dressed in trousers held up by braces, poses for the camera. There is a shot of the Punch and Judy show taken from the rear of the young audience, followed by a focus on the children’s faces as they watch the show, with some looking towards camera. Punch is beating Judy in the show. The show is then filmed over the heads of the children. Men, women and children walk away from the Punch and Judy show booth.

Pan across the gardens where people are milling around. People are sitting at one of the fete tables, where a young boy and girl look towards camera.

Next, a young woman stands at one of the tent stalls, possibly in a girl guide’s uniform, and poses with a young girl in pigtails sitting on a small go-cart ride, perched on a table top.

Title: Hazel Potter takes a ride

A girl seated on a small go-cart is pushed off from a table down a specially constructed track, with motion blur in the shot as the cart passes the camera. People watch in the background. The girl heads towards camera on the go-cart.

Group portrait of three standing women in summer frocks and a crouching man with a young girl. Crowds of visitors move around in the background.

Title: The show complete with a steam railway

Two adult men and two young children are seated on a miniature steam railway, which heads along a track through trees towards the camera.

Title: Standing room only in the Tea Garden

There are general views of the crowds of visitors moving around the Rectory grounds at the fete and sitting at tables shaded beneath trees. An older man in glasses stands with a younger man holding a balloon, with small children. They are smiling and the older man points to the camera.

Title: Winning Babies: Bobbie Wegg and Susan Adshead

A young mother cradles a baby in her arms. Another mother holds an older baby girl. Both mothers then pose for a photograph together. The film switches to a general view of the crowd. A man on a raised platform is speaking to the crowd, possibly announcing the winners of the baby competition.

Title: Now let us look at the stalls
Title: Fancy goods and all the trimmings

A paper sign advertises "Fancy Goods". There is a shot of a group of women, a grey haired older woman in glasses at the centre of the group.

Title: Fruit, Flowers and Produce

Three older women sit at a stall, wearing old-fashioned dresses. Two children run past behind the women, and in the far background many children are playing. A sign reads “Fruit and Flower.” A group of women sit at the stall. Portrait shot of a young woman sitting at the end of the table.

Title: “White Elephant” - probably a few pink ones too

Group portrait of people at the White Elephant stall. Two women, one standing and one seated, pose for the camera. A young boy drinks from a tea cup. Along the table a young girl plays with a balloon.Portrait shot of another woman at the stall in the foreground of the shot.

Title: Another baby winner - Barry Twiddle

A mother holds her baby boy and accepts her winning certificate from a judge. General view with tent in the background; a family group picks up portable chairs; a young girl walks to the right playing with two balloons.

Title: All aboard - with the Rector

The Rector is at the front of a line of people sitting on the miniature steam engine ride. There is a focus on the faces of the people as the train passes close by camera.

Title: Miss Crabtree wins a guessing competition

A young woman in a sunbonnet poses and smiles. In the background, an older man in a suit and tie accompanied by two children look towards the camera. Miss Crabtree holds up her winning certificate.

Title: Splendid raffles, organised by Mr Baston

A group of children and adults surround Mr Baston. A girl picks a number from the bag he holds out. Mr Baston picks a raffle ticket from a carrier bag.

Title: Mrs Hanson wins one doz. Eggs. Nice breakfast, what!!!

There is a brief shot of eggs in an egg tray. Portrait shot of the winner Mrs Hanson. In the background, a sign advertises raffles and several children are standing around, two of who stare at the camera. There is an out of focus shot of the prize. A child appears just behind Mrs Hanson and looks at the prize. A woman in a polka dot dress talks to the Rector. A young woman in the background stares toward the camera. A young woman (Jean) with a basket stands and smiles at the camera, accompanied by an older woman. They walk on smiling, as children run around in the foreground.

Title: Now Jean - You are too old for that

A brief shot shows the young woman, Jean, having a go on the go-cart ride

Title: Sez you - same again please

Again, Jean is recorded riding down the track on the go-cart.

People wave from the miniature steam train ride, which is moving backwards.

Group portrait of young women visitors in foreground, other visitors milling around in the background.

Children are seated on the grass, perhaps watching a performance. A young girl gets down on the grass with her friends.

A woman in a floral dress sits and poses for the camera in front of a tent with a sign. Part of the sign is visible and reads: “The Master Mind Omah [obscured lettering] Reader [obscured lettering] Master of the Age.” A group of older women outside a tent smile and pose for the camera.

Title: All the fun of the fete - even a wireless auction

From behind an audience of children, we see an older man with a cigarette in his mouth and a younger man holding up a wireless radio on display for the auction.

Title: Once again we have the ladies in an “Ankle Competition”

Slightly raised tarpaulin of tent reveals a row of women’s feet and ankles. A few children’s heads appear in shot.

Title: The winners. Miss D. Bowes & Mrs Marshall
Title: Charming - what beautiful ankles

Portrait shot of the two women winners of the ankle competition, tilt down to show their ankles.

Title: Organiser, Mrs Rudman - Judge - and winners

Group portrait of two young men in the back row, two young women in front of the men, and a younger girl in the front row. The two men and the young girl are smiling, and the two women do not smile.

Title: The railway organisers

Next, a group portrait shows four men in light coloured shorts, one behind the other, seated on the (unseen) model steam train ride. The men move towards camera on the ride, followed by extreme close-up portrait shots of the men.

Title: It was a splendid job - and a great attraction

There is a general view as the four men as passengers move backwards on the model train. A crowd watch beside the track.

Title: Even for the choir

A group of five young men and women, one young man sporting a short quiffed hairstyle, move past camera, riding on the model steam train. The train then reverses and three of the group wave.

Group portrait shot of an older man, two young women and two older women, all smartly dressed, smiling. A group of women and men relax beside the trees.

Title: R. Jackson wins the treasure hunt

Transfixed by the camera, a young boy poses without smiling. A group of children stand around him, one girl clutching paper to her mouth and staring at the camera.

Title: To all concerned 'Many thanks it was a grand day'

As the fete winds down, two boys walk in the garden whilst groups of men and women in the background are near Omah’s tent. The bunting and flags at the fete are hanging in the foreground of the shot, as a woman and young girl exit in the background.

The film closes with shots of Egglescliffe church and churchyard.