The Yorkshire Film Archive collects, preserves, and shows film made in, or about Yorkshire. Our collections are non-fiction, dating from the 1890s to the present day, and providing a rich and visually compelling record of all aspects of lives, cultures, landscape, industries, major events and everyday activities, many of which are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
A Romany Summer
With their battered vardo, scruffy kids and assorted horses in tow, Cocker and Ellie are on an “endless odyssey”, visiting Appleby Fair, trying to eke out their own chosen life.
Documentary 1977 43 mins
From the collection of:
A documentary on a travelling Romany family from the acclaimed TV series Once In A Lifetime. Sir Montague 'Cocker’ Smith, his wife, Ellie, and their five children wander around the country lanes of Yorkshire, rarely staying in one place for more than 24 hours. The interviews with Cocker and Ellie reveal much about the attitude and lifestyle of this traditional, by no means representative, Romany family, pursuing a nomadic life that has all but died out in the UK.
This is a film by the highly esteemed documentary maker Barry Cockcroft, who also wrote a book to accompany it. The Romanis are among the most oppressed peoples in history, being slaves in much of Europe until well into the nineteenth century, forcibly assimilated in several European countries, and killed in their hundreds of thousands by the Nazi genocide, the Porajmos. Persecution has continued, as the 300,000 Gypsies, Roma, and Travellers in the UK still fight for adequate provision of places to live, with the kind of unauthorised encampments seen in the film illegal, and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 making life harder still. Cocker and Ellie seem to have gone off the radar around 1986.
Travelogue 1937 12 mins Location: Finchingfield
Rural life in the Essex villages of Finchingfield and Great Bardfield - and the mixed reactions of older residents to changing times.
Documentary 1978 49 mins
Orkney evoked through poetry, the sounds of nature, and the music of Peter Maxwell Davies.
Non-Fiction 1904 3 mins Silent Location: Walton-on-Thames
Midsummer haymaking larks
Industry sponsored film 1951 10 mins Location: Stroud
The Stroud valleys of Gloucestershire in glorious Technicolor - and with a Laurie Lee script.
Documentary 1984 23 mins Location: Newark-on-Trent
From shire horses to the Royal Marines, welcome to the annual Newark Show. A serious business for the farming community, with prizes to win and 800 gallons of beer to be drunk.
Documentary 1944 7 mins Location: Stanion
An extraordinary and unexpected snapshot of rural life in wartime in which a young black girl is crowned Queen of the May.
Yorkshire and the Humber
Non-Fiction 1950 17 mins Silent Location: Yorkshire and the Humber
The expertise and passion of a typical post-war working class hobby is seen in all its grainy glory in this film of northern pigeon fanciers racing their pigeons, and on to the pub.
Non-Fiction 1950 3 mins Silent Location: Yorkshire and the Humber
A skilled sheep shearer demonstrates that a sheep can be hand sheared very quickly, keeping the coat in one piece, and, hopefully, without causing too much distress to the sheep.
Non-Fiction 1956 23 mins Silent Location: Yorkshire and the Humber
Each year the cycle is renewed, beginning and ending with spring lambs basking in the sun, and in between sheep get transformed from animals into woolly jumpers and Sunday lunch.
Non-Fiction 1939 12 mins Silent Location: Yorkshire and the Humber
A wonderful example of farming in the days before mechanisation, showing horse drawn ploughs and harvesters, and the labour intensive activity of building giant haystacks.
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