One Hundred Years of Barton on Film
What was life like in Barton a century ago when motor cars were the ultimate luxury, and the horse was still the friend of local farmers and working men? Even half a century ago, when a social revolution was in the air and The Humber Bridge was on the cards, how enthrallingly different was life to today? These are the kinds of questions that anyone who has watched the likes of Downton Abbey or Rock and Chips will have wondered about.
They’re also questions that the volunteers of The Lincolnshire Film Archive have set out to answer using original footage of the day dating back as far as 1901. On Friday, October 21, the fruit of their labours was brought to Barton Assembly Rooms courtesy of the Archive and Barton’s Civic Society to show the town how film can take you back in time like nothing else.
Peter Ryde, the head archivist at the Lincolnshire Film Archive, explained the magic of history on film.
“I think that even a still photo can be evocative of the past, bringing back a lot of memories, but motion pictures give history a sense of life that really brings back old times. It can be a catalyst, bringing back all of the feelings, sensations and recollections of the past.”
Footage included the spectacularly grand opening of the Humber Bridge in 1981 when Barton was bedecked in bunting and crammed full of excited revellers ready to greet the Queen as she attended the ceremony. There was some revealing film of the local steel industry in the 1940s when there was not a helmet to be seen and those working with red hot steel and noxious chemicals would have looked at you strangely if you mentioned eye protection. The films took the attendees to a nearby crisp factory where men and women worked hard to ensure that the nation got its fill of its favourite snack.
The films went down a treat, with one audience member saying that they were “very interesting and revealing … showing what life was like for our ancestors”. On show was just a small proportion of the full archive, which covers the whole of Lincolnshire over more than a century. From Grimsby trawler men proudly landing their catch in 1901 to the coronation celebrations of 1953 to an almost futuristic Cleethorpes geothermal energy project launched in 1984, these are fantastic snippets of history and they are all made available thanks to donations from the public.
The society is always on the lookout for more film footage of Lincolnshire filmed at any time since the dawn of motion pictures. If you have some and are happy to donate it, or if you know of someone who is then telephone 01205 750055, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The volunteers there will be thankful that you did.
On-site viewings of the material in the archives can be arranged by getting in contact as above. The archive is based in Boston, but off-site viewings can also be arranged for large groups. Of course, next time the archive is in Barton you’ll find out here first. More information can be found on the archive’s website www.lincsfilm.co.uk.
Image provided courtesy of the Lincolnshire Film Archive.