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.
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Participants come in all shapes and sizes to pound the streets of York and beguile the crowds with an eclectic range of pedestrianistic styles.
Amateur film 1938 6 mins Silent
From the collection of:
A big turnout of both participants and onlookers for a highly competitive walking race in York in the 1930s. A sport for the common people – any age, any kit, anywhere and it costs nothing – that at one time was the most popular sport in England. With the determination seen here on the faces of the pedestrious contestants, going "fair heel and toe", it is no wonder that it inspired so much enthusiasm.
Although race walking, “pedestrianism”, dates back in England to the eighteenth century, it wasn’t until 1866 that the first Amateur Walking Championship took place, and were included in the first A.A.A. Championships in 1880. It was included as an event in the Intercalated Olympic Games of 1906 and the London Olympic Games of 1908, won by a Brighton policeman. The first Women’s Amateur Athletic Association track championship was held in 1923 (although women’s walking was not included in the Olympic Games until 1992). Note that some of the participants don’t seem to be adhering to the basic rules of continuous contact with the ground and straightness of the knee of the advancing leg.
Olympics on Film
Sport 1948 9 mins Silent
Tricky weather conditions cause some spills in the downhill and ski jumping at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St Moritz.
Non-Fiction 1928 4 mins Silent
British Empire Olympic athletes take on the USA in the track and field at Stamford Bridge.
Non-Fiction 1947 14 mins Silent Location: Sheffield
Rare film of an exciting sprint and cycle racing event just after the war, capturing most of the large expectant crowd and many competitors.
The Olympic Games in Paris 1924
Sport 1924 91 mins Silent
The real Chariots of Fire heroes feature in this comprehensive look at the 1924 Olympic Games.
Documentary 1993 30 mins Location: Belfast
The incredible highs and crushing lows of the Belfast's boxing community
Documentary 1968 25 mins Location: Norton
“It isn’t the will to win, it’s that you don’t like to get beaten,” states the redoubtable Harvey Smith, revealed as smart, tough and easy going.
Military Sunday in York
Non-Fiction 1926 9 mins Silent Location: York
In this colour tinted film, made in-between the wars, York’s army servicemen proudly march before expectant crowds in front of York Minster.
Tower Pictorial News: York Assizes
Non-Fiction 1924 3 mins Silent Location: York
In this intriguing short film from the 1920s, a selection of York’s long gone imposing 18th Century judicial buildings are centre stage.
Rowntree Mackintosh Station Halt
Amateur film 1987 3 mins Silent Location: York
This significant film, shot in the late 1980s, preserves the history behind Rowntree Halt Station shortly before it was permanently closed.
York Minster Fire
News 1984 8 mins Silent Location: York
A devastating fire engulfs and destroys a significant section of York Minster in this poignant film from 1984.
The Last Reel
Amateur film 1966 6 mins Silent Location: York
Teenage members of a York cine club document the last hurrah of a much-loved picture house – in CinemaScope!
Amateur film 1938 8 mins Silent Location: York
In this fascinating film, made before the introduction of health and safety, workmen carry stacks of bricks on their head instead of hardhats.
Torture and Pleasure
Current affairs 1980 5 mins Location: Thurlestone
Gerald Haycock embarks on a torture and pleasure weekend and goes from reward-based hard exercise to eating and drinking.
Current affairs 1968 4 mins Location: Nettlecombe
Estate once owned by the father of King Harold, Godwin has never been bought or sold.
Charm Hostess and Mannequin School
Current affairs 1965 6 mins Location: Exeter
Women are put through their deportment paces and all in the name of etiquette.
Current affairs 1969 3 mins Location: Perranporth
Andy Price checks out how to make your own surfboard.
Hafod-y-Ddôl Grammar School, Nantyglo: sports, science and snow
Home movie 1960 8 mins Silent Location: Nantyglo
The sun shines on the school sports, ensuring good trade for the ice-cream vendor; in winter it makes the snow that halts train and car sparkle.
Whirlwinds at RAF St Mawgan
Current affairs 1962 3 mins Location: St Mawgan
RAF 22 Squadron provides air-sea rescue for the South West with new HAR 10 Whirlwind helicopters.
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