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
An extraordinary film made by amateurs showing a wide variety of species of bees in close up feeding from an equally wide variety of flowers.
Nature and Science programme 1949 6 mins Silent
From the collection of:
This is another example of the talent, dedication and imagination of Leeds amateur filmmakers, the Ramsdens. Made in 1949, not long after the end of the war, they have made a wonderful early wildlife film in Kodachrome colour observing, in remarkable detail for the time without any specialised equipment, the behaviour of many of the species of bees as they feed from flowers, open and closed. It may even feature one of the two species that have subsequently become extinct.
Betty and Cyril Ramsden made several wildlife films among their extensive collection. Their love of nature is particularly in evidence here as they show a sample of the 250 species of bees, mainly bumble bees – of which there are 24 species at present – but also a honeybee of which there is just the one species. Bumblebees are usually larger, and are always covered with dense hair, while honey bees – which prefer open flowers because of their short tongues – can be mistaken for wasps. Since the film was made large scale changes in agriculture has resulted in far fewer flowers, leading to a sharp decline in their numbers. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust aims to reverse this trend by encouraging more wildflowers.
Animals on Film
Documentary 1940 12 mins
Fun mixture of natural history and wartime public information.
Comedy 2004 4 mins
Sweet and funny short about a potty-mouthed dog who loves his owner
Non-Fiction 1959 3 mins
Six legged competitors take to the starting blocks as a Midlands pub brings the sport of beetle racing to the world.
News 1971 5 mins Location: St Keverne
Daisy the pet alligator living on the Lizard in Cornwall
Children's 1972 52 mins Director: David Eady
Fun-packed comedy for kids, in which a boy befriends a baby elephant – then teams up with his friends to stop it being sold
Amateur film 1967 14 mins Location: Thompson Common
Should you look hard enough, you’ll be amazed at the antics that creatures get up to, says Dorothy Maxey, amateur filmmaker and naturalist.
Non-Fiction 1926 1 mins Silent Location: Headingley
A masterful innings by Australian batsman Macartney in the third test at Headingley.
Nature and Science programme 1954 14 mins Silent Location: Headingley
The metamorphosis of the eating machine which is the caterpillar, into an Emperor Moth, revealed in all its detail and presented in 15 minutes.
Non-Fiction 1935 3 mins Silent Location: Headingley
When rugby league players looked no different from footballers, and the crowds were just as big, and not wearing a hat was an eccentricity.
Non-Fiction 1956 8 mins Silent Location: Leeds
A trip across Leeds in March 1956 on board the 194 tram, advertising Hemmingway Ales, passing the local traffic, the Civic Hall and other notable landmarks.
Amateur film 1957 21 mins Silent Location: Headingley
A wonderful film of secondary school lads in 1950s Leeds, out playing fast rugby on a frosty winter morning, reading in the library, but also larking about as they swig school milk.
Leeds Athletic and Cycling Club Carnival at Headingley (1902) Leeds Athletic and Cycling Club Carnival at Headingley (1902)
Non-Fiction 1902 7 mins Silent Location: Headingley
Athletes and acrobats wow the crowds at the annual Cycling Club carnival.
Short documentary 2021 4 mins
Director Eva Riley (Perfect 10) introduces Carine Adler’s Under the Skin, and describes why Samantha Morton’s visceral feature film debut performance astounds her.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1980 49 mins
Divorce 1980s-style is examined by this BFI film in which, tellingly, only the deserted wife is denied a voice.
Documentary 1943 12 mins
Are your stooking and stacking skills poor? Watch and learn how best to stack your stooks.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1976 43 mins
Mundane images are flipped, looped, reversed and interpolated to the sound of Monteverdi and other sonic textures.
Documentary 1957 20 mins
Epic undertaking at Bevercotes Colliery, digging 3000 feet to reach untapped coal seams in Nottinghamshire.
Travelogue 1935 15 mins Silent Location: Bournemouth
Anyone for a trip to the seaside? From Bournemouth to Margate via Brighton and Folkestone – sunny delights in abundance.
About the archive
Know this place?
Do you recognise a place, building or location in this film?
Help us populate the Britain on Film map by spotting and plotting the street or location you know. This is a BFI project and anyone can help.
Go to our Britain on Film crowdsourcing site and contribute to our mapping mission – to identify locations within our archive films.Add a location