Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Sherwood Forest and the Dukeries in 1957

Click on the still above to view this film on the British Film Institute site.

There the blurb runs:

This silent travelogue intended to familiarise ITV audiences with their new Midlands region takes us to north Nottinghamshire - a part of the country that ATV in reality rarely visited. Contemporary audiences knew all about local hero Robin Hood from the hugely successful ITV series starring Richard Greene. The Robin Hood Pantry at Edwinstowe nods towards the enduring popularity of the outlaw, even though their afternoon teas lack a certain rebellious zeal.

Other landmarks featured include Lord Byron's home at Newstead Abbey and Thoresby Hall at Budby. The film was shot by Birmingham Commercial Films who had the contract for producing filmed items for Associated Television's Midlands' region during the period.

We now think of North Nottinghamshire as mining country, but in the 19th century it was famed for its beauty and called 'the Dukeries' because it was home to so many aristocratic estates. But then those aristocrats decided to cash in and sold the mineral rights...

The only thing that worries me about this film is the scene shown in the still. We see two boys about to climb up inside the hollow Major Oak in a way that would never be allowed today. Ah well, small boys, grazed knees, 1950s, isn't it?

But I have a horrible feelings that what we are seeing is a form of child sacrifice that has allowed the tree to live for a thousand years. When the authorities searched the site the next day all they found was the first boy's school cap.


Anonymous said...

Never mind the child sacrifice, those two lads both seem to be tooled up with knives - how prevalent was gang crime in rural North Nottinghamshire in 1957?

david walsh said...

At that time knives were a common accoutrement for boys still in shorts who ventured out into the local woods. For, of course, you never knew when you might meet a grizzly bear or a hostile Comanche (even in the East Midlands). From memory you could buy them by post from small ads in the more cerebral comics like the Rover or Adventure.