day in the hayfields

Britain on Film: Rural Life

Dir: Various|UK|1904-1981|75 mins|U

The second programme from Britain on Film on Tour is an evocative exploration of the countryside of the UK, taking in the diverse and beautiful landscapes of all our home nations.

Britain on Film: Rural Life takes audiences down the country lanes of the past, meandering through the dwindling customs of another era. Relive the work of the local blacksmith preparing shoes for the horses that will plough the fields, and the shepherd’s trials as he protects his flock from an encroaching storm. Be swept up in the homemade entertainment and giggles of children at the country fair and the joyful freedoms of the dance in the village hall.

Touching on all the technological, industrial and social changes that affected our countryside throughout the 20th century, these films evoke and encourage not only nostalgia, but also broader and more meaningful reflections on the nature of rural life and village communities in the UK today. 

There are a limited number of opportunities to have an archive film specialist introduce your screening of Britain on Film: Rural Life, please ask when booking about their availability.

Supported by


Britain on Film


BFI Unlocking


Esmee Fairbairn

Gallery

day in the hayfieldsoer hill and daledry village
Any man's kingdomwest of englandBritain on FilmmachynllethBritain on film: Rural Life Skating on Lough Neagh

Booking information

Available formats
DCP, Blu-ray and DVD
Availability
Released on 26 January 2017. Available for booking now.
Booking email
bookings@independentcinemaoffice.org.uk
Booking phone
0207 636 7120
Distributor
Independent Cinema Office
Costs
Cinemas and theatres - 35% / £100 MG (plus DCP transport costs)
Community cinemas, film clubs, film societies – 35% / £50 MG
Community groups and membership organisations - £20

Films in this programme

machynlleth small

Machynlleth (In the Heart of Cambria) | Dir: unknown | UK | 1929 | 2 mins

This glorious Pathécolor film of the ancient capital of Wales pops with the beauty of rural life. The vibrancy of the hand stencilled images of this charming town’s streams, woodlands and livestock make this a genuine bucolic treat.


o'er hill and dale small

O’er Hill and Dale | Dir: Basil Charles Wright | UK | 1932 | 18 mins

The first sound documentary produced in the UK, this is an affectionate and at points humorous account of a Scottish shepherd's daily life in the Cheviot Hills.




great hucklow jubilee small

Great Hucklow Jubilee | Dir: L. du Garde Peach | UK | 1935 | 9 mins

These gorgeous scenes of Great Hucklow capture the Derbyshire village's preparations for the celebration of King George V's Silver Jubilee, presenting a charming portrait of life and laughter in the Pennine village.




dry village small

The ‘Dry Village’ | Dir: Unknown | UK | 1964 | 5 mins

A cautionary tale of the ‘dry village’ of Bessbrook, Co. Armagh, whose founder believed that the absence of a pub would remove the need for both the police and pawn brokers. But are the beautiful surroundings compensation enough for the lack of drink? 


village pet small

The Village Pet | Dir: Unknown | UK | 1931 | 1 min

After Billy the seal was caught in the Wash and rehoused in the village pond, this heart-warming newsreel item shows him tentatively accepting a fish supper from his adoptive family - the good folks of Warham in Norfolk.




west of England small

West of England | Dir: Humphrey Swingler | UK | 1951 | 10 min

Glorious Technicolor casts a dreamlike spell over Gloucestershire's Stroud valleys in this gorgeous short film. Author Laurie Lee contributes to the script for a narration which accompanies painterly images of evergreen scenery, people and industry.



cold war villages

Cold War Villages | Dir: Unknown| UK | 1981 | 3 min

In 1981, with no end to the Cold War in sight, plans are afoot in the Midlands to prepare for nuclear attack. These include a bunker for 400 people in a Rutland village with a population of 300, while in Derbyshire a local landlord takes responsibility for the somewhat simplistic advance warning system.



any mans kingdom small

Any Man’s Kingdom | Dir: Tony Thompson | UK | 1956 | 5 mins (extract)

A standout from the British Transport Films collection of travelogues – this one highlighting the attractions of Northumberland, the northernmost part of England. In this extract people travel from far and wide to enjoy the delights of Bellingham Fair, which includes traditional Cumberland wrestling.



blacksmith small

The Blacksmith | Dir: Peter Baylis | UK | 1941 | 5 mins

‘Things aren't what they used to be': Mr Bosley, village blacksmith at Corfe, near Taunton, is the subject of this nostalgic study of ancient craftsmanship. As his commentary talks us through the process of shoeing a horse, the patiently composed images gracefully evoke an ageless sunlit Somerset day.



eardisland village small

Eardisland Village | Dir: Unknown | UK | 1978 | 5 mins

The residents of Eardisland, a picture postcard Herefordshire village, are unhappy about their impending conservation status which would curtail new development. How can a village continue to thrive with an ever ageing population and no new blood?



day in the hayfields small

Day in the Hayfields | Dir: Cecil M. Hepworth | UK | 1904 | 3 mins

Enchantingly beautiful, Cecil Hepworth's modest interest film captures the essence of an English midsummer and the harvest in a time before tractors with men cutting hay using a horse-powered reaper. Less productive but very charming are the local babies and toddlers playing in the cut grass.



skating on lough neagh small

Skating on Lough Neagh | Dir: Unknown | UK | 1963 | 2 mins

As the Big Freeze plays havoc with the working life of Northern Ireland, there is plenty of time for play. The frozen lough is a call to the adventurous and the ridiculous as dogs, dancers and even drivers take to the ice.




Total running time: 75 minutes.

Films courtesy of BFI National Film & Television Archive, Media Archive for Central England at the University of Lincoln and Northern Ireland Screen Digital Film Archive and UTV.

Rural Life Map

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