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.
Nature and Science programme 1954 14 mins Silent
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.
Animals on Film
Documentary 1940 12 mins
Fun mixture of natural history and wartime public information.
Children's 1952 21 mins Silent Location: Biddenden
An eccentric dog-loving grocer leads the chase to reclaim a stolen pedigree poodle in this madcap canine comedy
Amateur film 1950 2 mins Silent Location: Brighton
Brighton's crowds thrill to the sight of Billy Smart's Circus parading through their town in this film from the 1950s
Amateur film 1970 8 mins Location: Newchapel
Enjoy this heartwarming film about neglected horses, ponies and donkeys being re-habilitated at 'Cherry Tree Farm' in leafy Surrey
Non-Fiction 1930 2 mins Silent Location: Sennen
Sink or swim as Rub and his chums are set adrift
1953 16 mins
Wildfowl and wallabies in the wild, exotic animals in the office
Non-Fiction 1926 1 mins Silent 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.
Comedy 1896 1 mins Silent
A deft music hall act adapted for film, featuring the only known appearance of pioneer filmmaker Robert Paul
Advert 1985 2 mins
Take a fighter jet, a Top Gun pilot with sunglasses and a brand new SAAB 900 and you have a sure-fire vehicle to launch a Hollywood career.
Promotional 2019 10 mins
A wandering warrior dreams of a new form of expression, in this promo for UNKLE’s album The Road: Part II / Lost Highway Pt. II directed by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones.
1935 16 mins
A rare glimpse of 1930s London in colour: the Thames has never looked lovelier.
1965 1 mins Location: York
A world away from zany humour, Richard Lester shows he can also capture the easy opulence of the upper class nibbling After Eight mints.
Advert 1946 1 mins Silent
Life is looking up! The war is over and the “Corona” Man can visit his “Corona” families once more, door-to-door.