This film is part of Free

Locking Shop

In this fascinating film, made before the introduction of health and safety, workmen carry stacks of bricks on their head instead of hardhats.

Amateur film 1938 8 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


This intriguing film shows the construction of a locking shop in York in the late 1930s. The film begins with a series of wide shots showing workers skilfully carrying stacks of bricks on their heads, followed by the construction of a wall around a large shed using the bricks that the men have been carrying. It ends with a panning shot of many men hard at work on the wall.

A locking shop is part of a railway station’s signalling and telegraphing departments. Interlocking apparatus, used to prevent conflicting movements through an arrangement of tracks, are made and maintained in locking shops. This particular locking shop was located near York’s old railway station. The area is now most likely occupied by Jarvis House.