Wandering / Wondering: We Of The West, Riding

Earlier today I posted that Wanda and I were now ready to wander… and later today, along with a friend and his un-named bicycle, we did just that; from The Piece Hall in Halifax to Skipton via Haworth and a return journey via Bolton Abbey and Ilkley (from where we caught the train home). It was all very reminiscent of the 1945 film We of the West Riding albeit with copious amounts of rain. Here’s the original:

The British Council film focussed primarily on the lives of (believe it or not) the fictitious Sykes family, their colleagues and friends, worshipping, working and… cycling from their home town of Halifax to Skipton. Sounds very familiar doesn’t it? The Piece Hall never featured in the original film, but Dean Clough Mills did, as did the Baptist church at Pole Moor (where my father lived at the time – his own father was the caretaker), and various locations en route to Skipton Castle including Burnsall and Bolton Abbey:

The film will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2020 and I’d love to remake it, revisiting the scenes and showing just how things have changed, including of course the cycle from Halifax to Skipton. Today was a rather wet but very enjoyable recce…

I did experiment with a few shots around Dean Clough Mills in Halifax last winter and here’s what I came up with:

The project will require careful planning, perhaps some financing. Time will tell.

Categories: Cycling

3 replies »

  1. Great stuff! I didn’t know about this film. Some suspiciously cut-glass accents, but a lovely window on Yorkshire of 1945. Clearly, the cyclists weren’t intimidated by rough stuff – some of those tracks look right bumpy!

    • Yes, and I’ve managed to identify almost all of the locations. Ironically the most difficult was the bit that was shot very close to where I live. It’s the segment at 14 minutes where the group are pushing their bicycles along a grassy lane. The valley, I think, is the valley where I live. The reason why it was difficult to identify is because it is now dominated by Scammonden dam and reservoir as well as the M62 that runs along the top of the dam. Fascinating stuff!

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