Cat no. 82

The Farm Factory

Running time20:11 Black & White Sound 1936 Leiston, Suffolk

Farming as an industry and its place in village life.


AgricultureDocumentaryEducationalWomen's Filmmaking

A teaching film dealing in detail with farm layout and practice.

The film opens by showing Britain's largest industries according to the number employed. A foundry represents engineering, Britain's fourth largest industry; a building site - third largest, a coal mine - second largest. However farming is revealed as the largest industry in Britain. A sequence with a map of Britain shows the location of the farm - between Aldeburgh and Leiston - and then Upper Abbey Farm, the 1,000 acre, pre-mechanised farm which is the subject of the film. The layout of the farm is carefully planned to save unnecessary labour, centred on the farmyard. General farmyard scenes illustrate this along with a plan and an animated scale model. The main farm buildings are shown in sequence - the farmhouse, the stockmen's houses and the great barn in the centre of the farmyard, flanked by three stockyards. The location and purpose of other buildings are also explained. To illustrate the careful design of the farmyard further, a lorry is shown backing into the barn to unload; a man carries hay from the barn to feed the cattle in the yard. He also mixes the pig feed and gives it to the pigs. The farm pond is shown with the cattle being watered. The water is raised from the well by windmill. A modern-style windmill has been built in the farmyard.

The film goes onto the fields, starting with general views and a map of the farm that shows last year's crops. Cereals grown were mainly barley and some rye. Root crops included a fair amount of sugar beet. The sugar beet factory is forty miles away by road. The farm includes some pasture and some salt marshes which are popular with the stockmen.There are general shots of the Norwich corn market, where corn is sold by sample, and of the Norwich cattle market. These illustrate the importance of marketing. The part played by manure in the farm economy is stressed, with shots of manure spreading in autumn and winter. The balance of the farm, between crops, animals, marketing etc is shown on an animated diagram.

Another diagram shows the management structure of the farm and the personnel. G.A. Rope, the son of the tenant farmer Arthur Rope, is shown at the Head of the farm with his assistants Lacey Smith, the Head stockman, Will Walker, the Head fieldsman and Harry Self, the Head shepherd. The experience and multi-skilling of the farm workers is stressed with shots of various operations. The pattern of the farming year is explained. The factory is large, covering well over 1,000 acres, and to save time getting about the farmer uses a bicycle. There follows a shot of the farmer to illustrate. The men are shown moving around the farm on their work horses, eating out of doors at midday, then going home by bicycle. Most live in the nearest village, Eastbridge, and the film shows the main features of village life. The pub (The Eels Foot), the shop and general village scenes are shown. The nearest school and church are both in neighbouring Theberton. Children are shown travelling to school and eating their packed lunch. The nearest towns, Yoxford and Leiston are covered, discussing their importance for shopping trips by bus. Leiston also provided the nearest cinema and railway station.


Many of the farm scenes used here are re-worked from the `Farming In ... ' Quartet

Featured People:

G.A. Rope, farm manager; Lacey Smith, head stockman; Will Walker, head fieldsman; Harry Self, head shepherd

Featured Buildings:

The Cattle Market, Norwich

Gaumont-British Instructional

Mary Field

C. Pocknall; F. Bundy; F. Goodliffe

E. Webster

John Morgan

Dr Keen

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