ELHAS Meeting Report - September 2010

The first meeting of our Autumn/Winter programme was a resounding success when 44 members and guests experienced a selection of short movies from the past, presented by Graham Relton from the Yorkshire Film Archive.

The YFA, which is based in York, is a registered charity founded in 1988 to, "find, preserve and show films made in or about Yorkshire". Their archive holds over 16,000 pieces of film or video, and Graham had made an interesting selection from these with which to entertain us. He began by showing us the earliest moving pictures filmed on Leeds Bridge in 1888 by Frenchman Louis Le Prince. Then he moved on to show films made by early filmmakers such as Bamforth (of cheeky postcard fame) or Debenhams of York. This was followed by a selection of home movies beginning with a wedding at St Edmunds church in Roundhay, followed by the reception at Rounday Mansion. The silent pictures, taken almost 100 years ago, gave a strong indication of the class structure in Leeds at that time, with the 'happy couple' arriving in style in an open topped (now vintage) car, followed by wealthy guests dressed in Morning Wear typical of the wealthy middle class, with many of the men smoking cigars or pipes.

A general progression through the ages followed with many of the 'home movies' showing fun at the seaside; with men dressed in suits and ties. Some of these clips had been used in the TV programme "The Way We Were", and were followed by contemporary interviews with the children featured describing their seaside holidays.
A particularly good section of the show was a movie about how Leeds prepared for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2nd in June 1953. It brought back memories to many who were around at the time and had forgotten the amount of work which went into decorating the city. The impact of the full colour presentation, with decorated store facades, and trams completely covered in festive livery, showed the enthusiasm for the event the people of Leeds had at that time.

Graham accompanied the films by an informative and often humorous commentary which all added to our enjoyment. One of the most appreciated clips was footage of Leeds Children's Day filmed in 1959. This again stirred up many memories with every one in the audience eager to share their experiences of this iconic Leeds event.
This prompted Graham to end by urging us to view the films available on the YFA website on www.yorkshirefilmarchive.com. He advised that they were always grateful to receive comments and information about the clips.

The next meeting on Monday 25th October will be an illustrated talk by Bob Tyrrell from Leeds Civic Trust "The Blue Plaques of Leeds".