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Lancashire’s Time for Adventure


Series Name
This Modern Age


Issue No.
Date Released
Nov 1948
Length of issue (in feet)
Stories in this Issue:
  1. 1Lancashire’s Time for Adventure


Story No. within this Issue
1 / 2
BFI synopsis: A survey of the cotton industry. Opening shots of merchant ships whilst commentary emphasises that to balance the economy more cotton goods must be produced, sold and exported. Diagram shows how one dress length can buy items for food. Shots of raw cotton being unloaded at docks. Shots of cotton being picked in various parts of the world, including Nigeria, Brazil and India, whilst commentary explains that the raw cotton comes to Britain is manufactured and sent back to foreign lands. Lancashire cotton mills - the home of the cotton industry for over 200 years, portraits of inventors, Richard Arkwright, and Samuel Crompton. Samuel Crompton’s home is shown whilst commentary explains that originally there was opposition to the machines. Tenement houses, smoking chimneys, a street market, lines of washing, a horse and cart, woman pushing a pushchair, streets in the rain. In some districts, the knocker-up man still exists. At 6.00 a.m., a man walks around the streets tapping on the windows with a long pole. At 7.15 a.m., the workers enter the mills and at 7.30, the machines are in operation. Shots of the carding room, the spinning room, the weaving shed and finished fabrics. Workers operating the machines and the wide variety of patterns produced. Commentary emphasises that the cotton industry has had many ups-and-downs. Shots of derelict mills, mills in ruins, mills used as storehouses, empty trucks lined up and silent buildings. Reasons why are given, including the use of cheap labour by rival foreign countries and that during the war, many mills were converted into munition factories and didn’t change back. Older mill workers "who know this story of quick fortunes which are quickly lost. Title "1/3 of Lancashire’s spindle and looms are idle. 40,000 more operatives are still needed". Poster saying "Weavers and spinners are Britain’s breadwinners. Give a hand to cotton. Immigrant workers have helped to relieve the shortage of labour to some extent. Workers from the Baltic states, Ireland and Poland. Workers who entered the forces without a trade and then, when the war ended, they came to the cotton industry. Training is given to school-leavers. Commentary asks whether the labour supply has dried up and whether there is any way of persuading former operatives to return. Improvements in working conditions are emphasised. Work councils are formed to sort out problems between management and men. Electric power helps to make the work more pleasant. New equipment is subsidised by the Government. Workers facilities include the provision of nurseries, canteen, a welfare service, games, a five day week and shorter hours. Shots of workers leaving the factories, rugby matches, brass band concerts, cricket and golf. Holidays with pay are also provided - shots of Blackpool Tower, people walking along the promenade, the candyfloss stall, donkeys, beach cricket, the oyster stall and the beach. Commentary states that the most revolutionary and powerful development is re-deployment. Shots of Herbert Morrison, Lord President of Council, speaking in defence of it. A mill is shown where re-deployment is being carried out. In October 1947, the Cotton Board holds a conference. It is agreed that output could be raised 5-10% without anymore machinery. Re-deployment is however, opposed by the Trade Unions. Figures show that compared with 1938, output is down as is the number of workers. This is attributed to shorter hours, older age, green labour, absenteeism and difficulty of supplies. Commentary asks if Lancashire is satisfied with this. Shots of "New Britain" - school flats, parks and dance halls. Final shots of girls wearing cotton dresses.
Researcher Comments
Trade shown on 3 November 1948.
Ships and boats; Entertainment and leisure; Social conditions; Business and commerce; Industry and manufacture; Labour relations; Employment
Written sources
British Film Institute Databases   Used for synopsis
Monthly Film Bulletin   Vol.15 No.180 December 1948, p179.
Enticknap, Leo. The Non-Fiction Film in Britain, 1945-1951 unpublished PhD thesis   p255.
Production Co.
This Modern Age, Ltd.
Length of story (in feet)

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