Changing village life in Kersey and Lavenham.
Documentary; Portrait of a Place
A relief map of the British Isles which becomes a close-up of East Anglia. An outline map shows how villages grow up along roads or cluster around a focal point, such as the Square. Although they are not named, Kersey serves as an example for the former and Lavenham for the latter. Before showing the villages, the film shows aerial shots of the countryside, then of a farm and then of the village.
Throughout the film runs the idea of interdependence; of the farm and the village and of the rural and urban environments. Moving on to the 'Lowland Village' there are shots of the main street through Kersey and then of the Square in Lavenham. There are many shots showing the half-timbered buildings. These show horses and carts in the streets and pedestrians walking up the road. A long shot of the main street in Lavenham reveals half a dozen motor cars and a lorry makes a delivery. The commentary explains that the cottages were built as long ago as the fourteenth-century by immigrant Flemish weavers. In an acted sequence, a family is shown weaving, spinning and carding in the traditional manner dressed in fifteenth century costume. The commentary explains that this was a thriving weaving area because the land was good for sheep and it was close to the East coast ports at a time when the world was truly euro-centric. St. Andrews Church, Lavenham is used to illustrate the wealth of the wool industry.
Other industries are covered. These included silk weaving (illustrated by a contemporary model wrapped in a length of silk), coco matting and horse-hair weaving.The film moves to the farm and shows two-handed broadcast sowing and horse harrowing. Back in the village, farm workers are seen with spades over their shoulders setting off for work. The milkman is on his rounds, with a horse-drawn milk float, the postman delivers his letters and the children go to school. They have a dog with them. Later in the morning the women do their shopping. one of them pushes a pram. One of the timbered buildings has a fish and chip sign on the front. The role of the horse is highlighted and cows are seen walking through the village on their way to the fields. Farming scenes include harvesting, where a small boy helps to build stooks and building and thatching a haystack. Sugar beet is lifted and knocked. In the winter the workers are seen hedging and ditching. Some of the Lowland Village machinery shown is horse-drawn, some is tractor drawn. Men are also shown holing and singling root crops.
Back in the village other rural craftsmen are shown. A wheelwright turns a cartwheel. The blacksmith, Mr. Huffey, shoes a horse, whilst another waits in the street. There are interior shots of the forge. The saddler, Mr. Bullivant, hand sews a saddle. Modern industries are shown and their use in the village demonstrated. The gas works, which offers gas lighting. The railway and cars play their part in village life. Piped water has replaced the wells. Electricity has provided heat and light as well as household goods such as irons and hoovers. This scene films inside a cottage and a woman is seen hoovering. With the horse back in the field, the workers arrive home. There is a high-angle shot of one of the villages and then a public house interior. A man at the bar drinks beer from a glass shaped as a boot. The film ends with aerial shots of the fields.
Mr. Bullivant, saddler; Mr. Huffey, blacksmith
St. Andrews Church, Lavenham