Cat no. 1338

A Year on a Mechanised Farm

Running time42:33 Black & White Silent 1940 Sedgeford, Norfolk

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Mechanised farming in Norfolk.



The year on the mechanised farm begins in the snow. There are scenes of snowy lanes with a tractor pulling farm machinery. This gets stuck in the snow and has to be dug out. A crawler tractor pulls tree roots out of the field, are taken away by a tractor and trailer. A brief scene, shot after the snow has cleared, shows persons out on a shoot. There are scenes taken about the farm that show tractor pulled machinery in use. These include a seed drill, a stationary baler, harrows and ploughs. The ploughs appear to be adapted horse ploughs. Two are connected together. The effect is quite bizarre. These scenes show the landscape to be flat and featureless. The ground is stony and there are some pine trees on the horizon. A scene shot in a town shows two farm workers filling a car with petrol. Many buildings are flint faced. There are town buildings in the background. Back on the farm, there are further scenes showing the mechanised farm, although the film shows some processes that hadn't yet been mechanised. Men are hoeing and singling out the young beet crop. They gather for payment. Women hoe potatoes by hand and then men hoe a more mature beet crop. There are scenes of a harvest. A tractor drawn reaper cuts the crop and then another machine picks up the crop. A tractor and trailer takes bales of straw off the land and back to the farm out buildings. In the yard, men repair machinery. There are shots of a large combine covered in canvas before the film breaks at the end of part 1.Part II begins with a lengthy sequence showing the wheat harvest. Combines are pulled by crawler tractors. There are shots from varying distances, including some close up shots. The grain is loaded into a lorry. There are panoramic shots of the landscape. At one point there are two combines at work. A lorry carries grain to arm buildings and unloads. There are further shots of the harvest, including farm workers running around as if in a game of tag. The baler is shown at work and there are scenes from inside the grain store. These include checking the grain and a photographer taking a photograph. Some sacks of grain are take to a lorry belonging to Dewing & Kersley, Flour Millers, Fakenham. The lorry, pulling two trailers leaves. The harvest sequence ends with scenes of the crawler tractors ploughing in the stubble. There are signs of stubble burning in the background. A Year On A Farm.The next scene shows brief pictures of a tractor and plough lifting sugar beet. Fertiliser or seed is placed in a spreader and a tractor pulls rollers over the field.In the beet field, sugar beet is lifted. Men knock and top the sugar beet. It is shovelled into a trailer. Some of these trailers are horse drawn. There is a shot of railway sidings, where some of the sugar beet is taken to go to the factory. Other loads are taken by road. Once again the roads are snow covered. At the factory the sugar beet is hosed down before being lifted off the trailer. There are shots of the exterior of the factory and further shots of washing and unloading. The final scenes are of a horse sale. These show a crowd of men in a yard and horses are paraded before them.

Background Information:

William Newcombe-Baker farmed at Burnham Thorpe and Sedgeford. The lorry seen in the film belonged to the Fakenham firm of Dewing & Kersey. The town where the men fill the car with petrol may be Fakenham which is about 8 miles form Burnham Thorpe. The sugar beet factory is most likely to be Wissington or King's Lynn.

Featured Organisations:

Dewing & Kersley, Flour Millers, Fakenham

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