This film is part of Free


Young hikers take to the hills in the time of motorcycles and sidecars, Morris dancers are still a novelty, and children balance barefoot over the stepping stones at Bolton Abbey.

Home movie 1956 14 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Wharfedale is renowned as one of the most beautiful parts of the country, but what was it like in 1956? This lovely short film not only shows us what places like Ilkley looked like at that time, but also reveals the extent to which increasing numbers of people were getting out into the countryside in the post-war period – by car, scooters, bicycle, on foot in shorts and hiking boots, and with proper rucksacks.

This film is one of over sixty films made by Fred Brackenbury between 1948 and 1966. Fred was a member of Harrogate Cine Club, and made all the films with a 16mm cine camera, virtually all in Kodachrome. He made films for Harrogate Council and other documentaries on Yorkshire – some with a separate soundtrack with commentaries by his wife, Nora – keen that they should contribute to preserving Yorkshire heritage and its landscape. Most of the heritage places in the film remain as they were, although Beamsley Hospital, originally a circular almshouse dating back to 1593 to provide accommodation for poor local widows (hence “hospital” in the old sense), ceased operation in the 1970s and is now a guest house.