Cat no. 278

New Series Pictorial: Bright and Early

Black & White Sound 1941 Mersea and Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex

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Land reclamation for wartime food production.



James Wentworth Day, author and agriculturist, camping in a field. He is cooking breakfast over an open fire. Two horses are in the background. He sets off on horseback with farmer, Jim Rodd for a tour of Mersea Island and the Essex countryside. There are artistic shots of a threatening sky and the two are seen travelling though a stream, that was once a shaded country lane. Thatched and weather board buildings are visible as they pass through the country lanes of Mersea Island. On the beach they meet Shipwright Bill Wyatt. Mr. Wyatt is described as an expert on Oysters and Mr. Wentworth Day swallows an Oyster. The purpose of Mr. Wentworth Day's visit is to see the land that has been reclaimed from the marsh for agricultural production. There is a scene showing a combine driven by a landgirl. The following shot shows the harvest complete and the stooks standing in the field. Messrs' Wentworth Day and Rodd proceed to Tolleshunt D'Arcy. Here they visit a 15th century moated farm and receive a stirrup cup. There are shots of the farm and farmyard, including seeing the sheep leaving the yard.

This sequence of the film ends showing land reclamation near Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Bulldozers on caterpillar tracks are clearing away part of the forest for arable land.

Background Information:

James Wentworth Day. (1899 - 1983.) James Wentworth Day was born at Marsh House, Exning, Suffolk. After World War One he became a reporter on the 'Cambridge Daily News' before joining the 'Daily Express' as a publicity manager and later personal assistant to Lord Beaverbrook. In 1924 he founded the Essex Wildfowlers Association and in 1925 became assistant editor of 'Country Life.' In 1932 he became editor of 'English Life.' During 1933 - 1934 he helped to organise the Houston Mount Everest Flight. In 1958 he wrote a biography of Lady Houston - The Woman Who Won The War. Immediately before and during World War Two he was propaganda adviser for the Egyptian Government and publicity adviser to the Anglo-Turk relief Committee before becoming a war correspondent with the 'Daily Mail' and the BBC. In 1941 he became the BBC's correspondent in the Middle East. He became semi-paralysed for ten months. During this time he was alleged to have ridden 1,330 miles on horseback through the Eastern Counties setting a national record. In fact he had a horsebox and brought the horse out for filming. He was invalided out of the forces in 1943.Farming Adventure. Farming Adventure was written in 1942 and published in April, 1943. James Wentworth Day also wrote ghost stories, biography, history and topography and books about sport and country life. He made many radio broadcasts between 1935, (The Fine Art Of Shooting.) and 1980, when he appeared on Sherrin After Breakfast. His obituary in 'The Times' in 1983 said, The range of his books, listed in Who's Who, suggests that he probably wrote too much. Land Reclamation. The land reclamation scenes were put on by Jack Oldfield and filmed at Hatfield

Featured People:

James Wentworth Day; Jim Rodd; Bill Wyatt, shipwright and authority on oysters


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