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 Year and a Day
The metamorphosis of the eating machine which is the caterpillar, into an Emperor Moth, revealed in all its detail and presented in 15 minutes.
From the collection of:
This remarkable early wildlife film reveals the dedication of its makers, Leeds amateur filmmakers, the Ramsdens. Made over a period of two years in 1953 and ‘54, it shows the entire life cycle of an Emperor Moth, winning a national film award. Shot in close up, the film follows the insect from its beginnings as a small caterpillar feeding on heather through to its transformation into a moth.
Betty and Cyril Ramsden made several wildlife films among their extensive collection. This film is featured on a BBC/Open University television programme about their collection of films, Nation on Film, made in 2006, narrated by Sir David Jason. It was Betty who had the idea and Cyril who designed and made the equipment to film close up –presumably utilising his skills as a dentist – which he had used previously for ‘Winged Workers’. It was shot in their basement, with Cyril developing the film in their bath.
Fantasy 1903 10 mins Silent
The first-ever film version of Lewis Carroll's tale, made just 37 years after the novel’s publication and eight years after the birth of cinema.
Advert 1935 4 mins
Part experimental cinema, part advert for the parcel post service, always joyful.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1961 2 mins
Fall truly, madly, deeply in love with this animated proto-music video from Godfrey, Lacey and Newly
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1910 3 mins Silent
A pioneering effort in bringing shadow puppetry to the cinema
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1963 6 mins
Warning! If you step into the Merry Music Shop then this singalong cartoon is an animated earworm in waiting!
Comedy 1897 1 mins Silent
I've got you under my skin... early 'trick' film having fun with the new science of x-ray photography
Non-Fiction 1926 1 mins Location: Headingley
A masterful innings by Australian batsman Macartney in the third test at Headingley.
Nature and Science programme 1949 6 mins Silent Location: Headingley
An extraordinary film made by amateurs showing a wide variety of species of bees in close up feeding from an equally wide variety of flowers.
Non-Fiction 1935 3 mins Silent Location: Headingley
When rugby league players looked no different from footballers, and the crowds were just as big, and not wearing a hat was an eccentricity.
Non-Fiction 1956 8 mins Silent Location: Leeds
A trip across Leeds in March 1956 on board the 194 tram, advertising Hemmingway Ales, passing the local traffic, the Civic Hall and other notable landmarks.
Amateur film 1957 21 mins Silent Location: Headingley
A wonderful film of secondary school lads in 1950s Leeds, out playing fast rugby on a frosty winter morning, reading in the library, but also larking about as they swig school milk.
Leeds Athletic and Cycling Club Carnival at Headingley (1902) Leeds Athletic and Cycling Club Carnival at Headingley (1902)
Non-Fiction 1902 7 mins Silent Location: Headingley
Athletes and acrobats wow the crowds at the annual Cycling Club carnival.
Action and Adventure 1923 28 mins Silent Location: Tilbury
Plotting world domination, Devil Doctor Fu-Manchu steals plans for a new aero-torpedo in this earliest surviving thrill-a-minute serial instalment.
Inside Film 2024 16 mins
Filmmakers Jane Giles and Ali Catterall discuss their documentary Scala!!!, revisiting the legendary and inspirational cinema venue and some of the most notorious films that screened there.
Drama 2023 2 mins
A group of young Black boys run into a building. One of them is about to do the unimaginable.
Romance 2023 2 mins
A queercore romance - a visceral and immersive exploration of the power of the mosh pit and finding love in the most unlikely of places.
Charity appeal 1939 10 mins
Long thought lost, this Powell-directed promotional short for a veteran’s charity was only rediscovered in 2003.
Documentary 1941 6 mins
A poignant, stirring letter from a recently deceased pilot to his mother is read by John Gielgud.