We all had a wonderful evening watching archive film of the local area in the historic surroundings of Cromford Mill. Hosted by The Arkwright Society and Angela Jones the Events officer. The Arkwright Society is the charity looking after this World Heritage Site a legacy of Sir Richard Arkwright and his construction of the world’s first successful water powered cotton spinning mill at Cromford in 1771. There are lovely canal side walks, guided tours of the site and characterful cafes and shops – well worth a visit and Cromford railway station is only a few minutes away. http://www.arkwrightsociety.org.uk/.
Phyllis Higton, daughter of the locally famous photographer and later filmmaker, Harry Gill, kindly allowed her father’s films to be screened at Cromford, knowing that they held so much interest locally. Phyllis has deposited the rest of her father’s collection with us at MACE for us to store them in our climatically controlled film archive. Look out for notices at Cromford Mill and locally as this is a huge collection and we will be screening more of this collection and others in 2012.
Phyllis came along with one of her daughters and thoroughly enjoyed seeing these films – they really evoked memories of Matlock and Matlock Bath (where she used to live). The flooding scenes were amazing – with a torrent of water rushing along Bakewell Road coming from the River Derwent. One person in the audience recognised her grandfather and another remembered riding on the amphibious vehicles to get across town.
Another ‘moment’ of the evening was when Mary Beale (above) recognised herself as a young girl in 1954 in a film made by British Transport Films (BTF). “The Peak District” was one of many travelogue films made by the BTF film production unit. They made a series of travelogue films to promote rail travel around the British Isles.There is a website dedicated to all the films made by this unit and you can buy some of them from Amazon or the British Film Institute. http://www.britishtransportfilms.co.uk/
Another film collection which we hope to be screening at Cromford in 2012 is from the collection of Phyllis Wayne. Phyllis Wayne and Phyllis Higton lived next door to each other and it is interesting to see how each of their father’s filmed the same events. We have got some very good coverage of the Starkholmes Carnival in the 1960s!