We of the West Riding (1945)





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Published on Jun 21, 2011

More from our archives: http://film.britishcouncil.org/britis...

The British Council Film Collection is an archive of more than 120 short documentary films made by the British Council during the 1940s designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played. Preserved by the BFI National Film Archive and digitised by means of a generous donation by Google, the films are now yours to view, to download and to play with for the first time.

Yorkshire is divided into three areas, or 'Ridings', and it is the West Riding which becomes the focus of this 1945 film.

Exploring the mill towns and textile industry within this area of Northern England, the film examines the structure of family life away from the British capital. Observed through the eyes of a little boy, he recounts visiting his family members who are all employed in different sectors of the local cloth industry.

Much attention is paid to the dramatic rural landscapes and moorland that have become the focus for some of Britain's most renowned works of literature, including Wuthering Heights and other novels by the infamous Bronte sisters.

This film is designed to show the solid community bases in all areas of the country and not just in the capital. This could be seen as a complementary film to Annakin's London 1942, making sure that Britain is not depicted as 'Londoncentric' and values as well the diverse contributions to Britishness supplied by the far reaches of the country.

It is a way of showing these differing areas in a positive light, diverting away from an idea that rural areas are somehow regressive. Highlight the fact that even though country lifestyles are perhaps different to those of people living in larger cities, there remain core values predicated on the importance of family, community spirit and supporting a greater ideal of Britishness.


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