This film is part of Free

Winding Journey

Across the great hidden divide separating production from product as the almost entirely female headscarved workforce labour to make electric motors in 1950s Huddersfield.

Promotional 1950 20 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


The electric motor gets (almost) the full Hollywood treatment here in this story of how motors are manufactured in the 1950s by one of Britain’s biggest producers, Brook Motors. To the soundtrack of the British light music of the time, the mainly female workforce are seen displaying their skills as the slowly evolving motors pass along the conveyor belt from set of workers to the next, with insights into technology, marketing, and the sociology of work.

This is one of a great many promotional films made by Brook Motors of Huddersfield from the 1930s through to the 1970s. All the films provide a detailed account of how their motors are manufactured and their uses. Companies making promotional films of this kind were very common, and show just how much film came to be used in marketing. Although the film highlights the technological advances in the production process, we can see just how labour intensive factory work still was before the revolution in automation. Brook Motors began life in 1904 before merging with R.E.B. Crompton to form Brook Crompton in the late 1960s, and still manufactures electric motors that look remarkably similar to those in the film.