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
Man in the Street
A wonderful, and often comic, peep into police training as the war gets underway; after having their chests measured, they learn how to control traffic and deal with dead bodies.
Training film/TV programme 1940 30 mins Silent
From the collection of:
“Britain need not despair while she produces such splendid specimens of manhood”, so declares this fascinating film of police recruitment and training in West Yorkshire at the beginning of the WWII. The new tasks of the police, with Britain now at war, are evident as, alongside crime solving, there is now training in anti-gas and respirator drill; while practising giving traffic signals, and collecting pay, are glorious to behold.
With the outbreak of war, young police officers volunteered for military service and reservists returned to their units. Police numbers therefore fell, from 60,000 to 43,000 by 1943. Yet although recruitment was important, there was an age limit of between 20 and 25, height had to be at least 5’ 10”, and chest measurement at least 36”. As well as their usual duties, the police now had extra ones of enforcing the blackout, assisting the rescue services with bombing raids, checking on enemy aliens in the country and pursuing army deserters. Although some women are seen in the film, despite the shortages the number of women officers hardly rose – from 300 women police to just 385 by 1944 (with thanks to the OU).
Ready for the Enemy
Amateur film 1938 10 mins Silent Location: Woking
Woking gears up for war in this remarkable film about the Home Guard and its contribution to the town.
War 1940 7 mins
Surrounded by water and manned to defend the coastline, sea forts were remote outposts of Britain’s home front.
Government sponsored film 1941 9 mins
‘ACK ACK’ is a profile of the soldiers who manned anti-aircraft positions on the home front during the Second World War.
Documentary 1941 10 mins Location: London
Ordinary men from all trades and professions lead double lives to hone their soldiering skills in Britain during the Second World War.
Amateur film 1946 21 mins Location: Leatherhead
Leatherhead applauds and thanks its Civil Defence Service volunteers for their sterling efforts, in this fascinating film made during the last months of the Second World War.
Amateur film 1942 12 mins Silent Location: Clandon Park
Dad's Army, Clandon-style, are at it again in this fascinating film about life in Surrey's Home Guard.
Amateur film 1977 4 mins Location: Wakefield
The wheels on the bus go round and round, bringing toys and joys to pre-schoolers in West Yorkshire.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1965 3 mins Location: Wakefield
A once common object in many households becomes transformed into a quirky dancing troupe in this simple homespun animation.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1963 5 mins Location: Wakefield
The clinking of the milkman doing his daily rounds turns into a moving tale of romance between the contrasting beverages of day and night.
Amateur film 1964 5 mins Location: Wakefield
A cautionary tale of what happens when a husband is left by his wife to fend for himself; forgetting to put tea in the tea pot for one thing.
Amateur film 1979 5 mins Location: Wakefield
A nightmare scenario of a pauper’s funeral, as well as being buried alive, brought to life in this whimsical tale of a man laid low with flu.
Travelogue 1955 3 mins Location: Wakefield
John Betjeman whimsically appreciates Wakefield and its people - who "are like their houses, unpretentious and a bit grim on the outside".
Manchester's Welcome to the Imperial Yeomanry (1901) Manchester's Welcome to the Imperial Yeomanry (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 4 mins Silent Location: Manchester
A volunteer cavalry regiment is enthusiastically welcomed home after active service in South Africa.
Non-Fiction 1901 2 mins Silent Location: Liverpool
All ashore! Passengers disembark and crew offload after a long Atlantic crossing.
Spectators Promenading in Weston Park, Sheffield (1902) Spectators Promenading in Weston Park, Sheffield (1902)
Non-Fiction 1902 3 mins Silent Location: Weston Park
A stroll in the park for civilised city-dwellers in Edwardian South Yorkshire.
Non-Fiction 1924 1 mins Silent Location: Woking
The UK's first purpose-built mosque welcomes a huge crowd of worshippers - and newsreel cameras!
Comedy 1914 9 mins Silent
A vicar is caught flirting with an improperly-dressed chorus girl in this saucy silent comedy.
Travelogue 1953 21 mins Location: York
The Stationmaster at York guides us through a typical day, from dawn to dusk.
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