Cat no. 1271

Norfolk Farming in the 1990s

Running time25:21 Colour Sound c.1993 Norfolk, Norfolk

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Focusing on five farmers, this film looks into the farming industry and developments in Norfolk.



The film begins with shots of a tractor drawn plough. The commentary speaks of Norfolk as central to agricultural improvement, citing characters such as Coke of Holkham and Viscount Townshend of Rainham. The first topic of the film is the vital and changing role of farm workers. They are filmed at a variety of tasks, including sweeping, repairing hurdles and adjusting and repairing machinery. The film shows shots of wheat whilst the commentary speaks of the different soil types in the country and of the fact that 6% of cereals in Britain are grown in Norfolk. A farmer is shown lighting straw, an activity that was banned in 1992. There are shots of a sugar beet harvester at work. The commentary explains that 29% of sugar beet is grown in Norfolk. Other crops shown include leeks grown in the fens, linseed and rape. A sprayer is filmed at work. At Great Yarmouth chemicals for fertilisers are unloaded at the port. A tractor is filmed spreading fertiliser on the land. A farmer monitors growth on part of the 15% of land that is 'set aside.'

Animals are playing a larger part in Norfolk farming. There are shots of free range pigs and chickens, of sheep and of cattle. The North Norfolk Harriers are filmed during a hunt and beaters flush out pheasants for a shoot. The film emphasises that farming has become a business. Dick Braughton, farm manager for Lord Hastings at Swanton Novers, is filmed in his office. He speaks to the camera about his work and about the land he manages. There are shots of the farm. He has a 3,000 acre estate, divided into four businesses. He employs 20 men full time. David Holland farms a 200 acre council holding near Litcham. He is filmed sitting in his lounge. There are shots of the farm as he explains that his farm is both arable and dairy. He farms it himself with the help of contractors. 30 years ago he employed 14 people.

William Brigham and his 2 brothers farm at Lyng, where they own 600 acres of arable and dairy farm. He speaks to the camera, explaining their business. There are shots of the farm showing the farmhouse and the milk parlour. There is a shot of flooded gravel workings, which have been turned into a fish farm and shots of the retail coal business run by the brothers. Frederick Stanton and his brother farm at Snettisham, where one of his farms is the Park Farm, run as a tourist farm since 1986. There are shots of the animals and of the visitors. There are shots of the sheep centre where 42 breeds of sheep are kept and of deer, introduced by Frederick Stanton from his previous farm in Scotland.

Chris Skinner is filmed working at the table of his kitchen. He farms 600 acres, some of which are tenanted. He grows sugar beet and cereals. he employs one man. There are shots around the farm and around the stables. He encourages farm visits and there are shots of a bluebell wood and of other wild flowers growing on his land. Pupils from Notre Dame High School, Norwich, are filmed tending Notre Dame Wood, planted in 1990. On the Holkham Estate there are shots of woodland management.

The final sequence shows some of the new innovations and diversification in farming. Dick Broadsmith breeds cattle for beef. The fat on the beef was a little 'muddy' which was unacceptable. He changed the diet. There are shots of a potato harvest showing women workers. The potatoes are grown for crisps and are stored until April. A work gang cuts cabbages at Kettlestone. There is a shot of a plastic fleece covering radishes. At Martham GA Bayley Ltd grow chrysanthemums. Near Bawburgh, a tractor collects golf balls. Here, Alan Barnard lets land to the Norfolk Show Committee to run as a golf course and driving range. The final shots show Chris Skinner checking his stables before turning on the alarm.

Featured People:

Dick Braughton, farm manager for Lord Hastings; William Brigham; Dick Broadsmith; David Holland, farmer; Chris Skinner; Frederick Stanton

Featured Organisations:

GA Bayley Ltd; Norfolk Show Committee; Notre Dame High School; The North Norfolk Harriers

J. & H. Bunn Ltd of Yarmouth

Peter Hollingham

Peter Hollingham

East Anglian Film Archive

Research - Cathryn Terry; Adviser - Pat Lee

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