Cat no. 429

The Manningtree Mechanics

Running time22:07 Colour Silent 1957 Manningtree, Essex

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The work of the Manningtree Youth and Day Release Centre.

Genre:

Documentary

The work of the Manningtree Youth and Day Release Centre and, through a flashback dream sequence, its predecessor, The Manningtree Institute. It contains some excellent views of the Stour Estuary and of the streets of Manningtree.The film opens with views across the estuary of Mistley Quay; swans pass in front of sailing barges. A view across the river of the British Xylonite Limited Plastics Factory at Brantham precedes shots of young people arriving at work at 8.30am. Interior scenes show girls operating comptometres and mechanical calculators and men working in various parts of the plastics factory. The same group are seen arriving at the Day Release Centre in Manningtree. There are classroom scenes showing mathematics classes with students using a slide rule and shorthand and typing classes. There are scenes of the morning break.

A lengthy sequence shows further shots of the estuary and of Mistley Quay. Barges manoeuvre and sacks of grain are unloaded. There are shots of Mistley Towers and of a steam engine (No. 65453) hauling wagons along the branch line to Mistley. This train is filmed later at Colchester. In the Day Release Centre students engage in private study and relax in their common room. One boy falls asleep.

A dream sequence takes the film back to an inaccurate reconstruction of the Manningtree Institute in 1849, its founding year in its these buildings. He sees students of those days talking, reading newspapers and selecting books. The presence of women is one anachronism in this sequence. A Wimshurst machine and electro-magnetism are demonstrated to the audience. People in costume are filmed around the streets of Manningtree. Two boys walk along the railway line and talk to a driver.The dreamer wakes and rushes to Manningtree School to a class on engines. There is a speeded up section showing jiving in the common room and then further motor cycle maintenance. The film ends with further shots of the estuary at sunset.

Featured Organisations:

Manningtree Youth and Day Release Centre; British Xylonite Limited Plastics; British Rail Eastern Region

Featured Buildings:

British Xylonite Limited Plastics Factory; Mistley Towers; Manningtree Mechanics Institute; The Manningtree Mechanics.

Manningtree Youth and Day Release Centre

Michael Barrett Brown

British Rail Eastern Region; Free, Rodwell & Co.; Taylor & Butler; E.D.M. Ltd

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