Free public screening of Yorkshire-themed Nation on Film episodes
A free public screening of two episodes from the new fully-funded Open University/BBC series Nation on Film with strong Yorkshire themes will be held at the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds.
The screening will take place at 7pm on Monday November 13 and is free to the public on a first come, first served basis and will include a question and answer session with the producers of the series.
The first film, ‘The Ramsden Collection’, is the story of a newly-discovered amateur archive that sheds new light on life in post-war Britain. For 20 years Leeds husband and wife Betty and Cyril Ramsden, recorded the world around them. They captured middle-class life in the north of England.
Their rich celluloid legacy challenges the clichéd view of post-war Britain as a decade of austerity and dreariness.
The second film, ‘Kearton’s Wildlife’, tells the story of how a farmer’s son from Yorkshire became a pioneer of wildlife film-making and star of the silver screen. Cherry Kearton travelled the world from the 1920s in order to capture images cinema audiences had not seen before.
Using his own remarkable footage and including an interview with Sir David Attenborough, Nation on Film explores the work of Britain’s first wildlife presenter and film-maker.
Both films are narrated by one of Britain’s favourite actors, Sir David Jason.
Tony Parker, Nation on Film Producer, said: “Little was known about the Ramsdens’ footage as it was only recently deposited at the Yorkshire Film Archive. Using a 16mm camera they recorded ‘mini-documentaries’ of middle-class life in post-war Yorkshire.
“On one level the material is simply beautiful to watch, well-crafted colour images of 1940s and 1950s Britain. But we wanted to know more about the historical importance of these films, what they tell us about post-war life. There appears to be very little footage about how middle-class people lived during this period, particularly outside London.
“Betty and Cyril never set out to create an ‘historical record’ but through their passion for film that is essentially what they have done; their legacy is a rich historical record as captured on film.
“To some extent it challenged one stereotypical view of this period – as one of great austerity, hardship, rationing; a grim, grey old time up north! Betty and Cyril’s footage gives a flavour of the couple, and their friends, having a wild old time as they held parties, enjoyed country events and holidayed in northern France.”
The Hyde Park Picture House is one of the only surviving picture palaces in the UK. It is a Grade 2 listed building and boasts many original features such as gas lighting and a decorated Edwardian balcony.
The Picture House seats 350 and demand is expected to be great so people are urged to come early. The screening is organised by the school of Cultural Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University.
Nation on Film is a fully-funded series produced by The Open University. It uses a wide variety of film sources from amateur to professional; regional to national cinematic; to illustrate historical themes and give them an engaging new perspective. As well as the episodes shown at the screening, the new series will cover Cars, Flying, Football and Holidays.