Derby on Film

Derby on Film Blog

Burt Reynolds, John Cleese and the Staff of Life

Shrove Tuesday Football, Ashbourne

Shrove Tuesday Football, Ashbourne

Having just finished watching and making notes on 57 DVDs worth of converted film footage from Buxton Museum, I thought a top five highlights and low lights would be an interesting topic. This collection has some really interesting and funny pieces but it also has a good amount of rubbish too. The first thing that comes to mind is the 1970s Burt Reynolds film followed closely by Carry on Cruising! The 1980s footage of Noel Edmunds made me cringe and I have no idea why an episode of Mastermind was in there. There were also around 6 hours of road safety film from the 1950s and 60s which ranged from terrifying to ridiculous and an industry film on interviewing techniques with John Cleese, Tony Robinson and Andrew Sachs!

Despite some of the less historically important  films I’ve looked at, the collection also held some fantastic pieces, here are my five highlights of the collection:-

1. 1930s police surveillance footage of street gambling in Chesterfield, used as evidence in convicting the criminals.

2. 1950s film of Ashborne’s Shrove tide Football match showing lots of mud and enthusiasm for the annual event.

3. ‘The Staff of Life’ a bread making film showing the process from harvesting the wheat in the field, to baking the doe in the factory and finishes up by being eaten by some happy children.

4. Limestone quarrying in Derbyshire, this film shows the men prepping for an explosion; they show very little concern for health and safety!

5. Footage of High Peak Railway on its last run before being cut due to Dr Beeching’s report.

The Workmen with a Drill and Crane, Dene Quarries, Cromford, c 1950s


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Picture the Past makes available online, images from Nottinghamshire, Nottingham City and Derbyshire county councils photographic collections.