This film contrasts modern farming methods with those around the period of World War II.
This films opens at harvest time, showing colour film of threshing scenes from Stiffkey, Norfolk, c. 1950, “Farming Scenes.” Following this are shots filmed in 1962 of Hall Farm, Tasburgh, Norfolk. This is a small, mixed farm and the film shows Guernsey cattle and a tractor pulled combine. Some flint farm buildings are shown before the film covers, using stills, a brief account of modern farming, from the enclosure movement via Coke and Townsend. There is film of a steam ploughing exhibition at Thursford, filmed in 1962, and of a display of horse ploughing from Keswick, Norfolk, 1961, “British National Championship Ploughing Match.” Basil Chaplin of Lawford, Essex and Jack Leader, of Knapton, Norfolk, explain the jobs they did and about their lives on farms. They speak over shots from Mary Field’s films Leiston, Suffolk, 1935, “Farming In Autumn”.
The film returns to contemporary shots showing seedlings, winter wheat and bluebells before a sequence about sugar beet. This shows chopping out by hand and a demonstration at Hockering of a machine for thinning out beet. There are general farming scenes leading into a sequence on hay making using a roto-bailer and the wheat harvest. These scenes are from Guestwick, Norfolk, 1961, Quick Haymaking Demonstration. Basil Chaplin and Jack Leader recall these events from their own experiences on the farm. The film shows Archive scenes of threshing which are contrasted with a modern thresher. Chaplin and Leader describe the threshing teams that worked itinerantly from farm to farm.
There is a milling sequence from Peasenhall mill c. 1930. The process is described by Arthur Bates, the miller of Happisburgh. The film shows methods of dealing with straw and stubble before the Harvest Festival at St. Mary’s Church, Tunstead between September 6th and 8th, 1974. These scenes show the interior of the Church decorated for the occasion. At Lawford Hall the estate workers join the landowner for a sit down, candlelight meal, reviving the old custom of the harvest supper. The film shows scenes of ploughing in stubble; the commentary recalls ploughing by horse and sugar beet knocking. There are shots of the sugar beet factory at Cantley. Women pick parsnips at Warham. Winter country scenes and shots of seedlings and daffodils conclude the film, emphasising the cyclical nature of farming.
Norfolk Farm Machinery Club
Harvest Festival, St. Mary’s Church, Tunstead, 6th - 8th September, 1974.
Lawford Hall; Peasenhall Windmill; St. Mary’s Church, Tunstead