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
Cricket 1952 (Featuring Locations in Ilkley and Sleights)
The 1950s, the zenith of cricket as the perfect expression of the English refinement of leisure, along with smoking a pipe and having a beer.
From the collection of:
A wonderful evocation of an idyllic post-war Britain, at least for the well-heeled living in the prosperous Yorkshire town of Ilkley. The clichéd phrase of “the sound of willow against leather” sums up a whole lifestyle, seen here with the archetypal colonel in cricket blazer, sporting a Jimmy Edwards moustache and accompanied by a British bulldog. As an Ilkley Club batsman makes his forlorn way back to the pavilion, the ladies keep themselves occupied, knitting.
It is not entirely sure who is behind the camera in this film but it is most likely the highly accomplished Leeds amateur filmmaker John (Jack) Eley, possibly with the help of his fellow member of Leeds Cine Club, and its off-shoot Mercury Movie Makers, Reg White. Jack was very prolific from 1932 through to 1980, but especially so in the 1950s and ‘60s. Historic information on non-county cricket clubs is hard to come by but it seems that both Ilkley Cricket Club, founded in 1850, and Sleights are still playing on the same cricket grounds as they do in this film.