|Title ID||751||Collection ID||176|
|Title||[Ashford Railway Works: Local Industries and Farming]|
|Theme||Working Life Transport|
|Keywords||Animals Beaches Family Hunting Industry Interiors Labour Men Railways Rural Areas Sea Fishing Social Class Street Trading Trades Workers|
|Format||16mm Black & White Silent|
|Duration||26 min. 9 sec.|
|Copyright & Access||Copyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details|
An extensive record of Ashford's industries and manual workers in the immediate post-war era, including Ashford Railway Works and Ashford Cattle Market.
Workers create rods for the driving wheels of steam locomotives at the Ashford Railway Works - a slab of heated steel is molded by hand and by machinery into the required shape. At the end of the working day the male workers leave the factory by foot, bicycle and motorcycle - a few of the men hand dockets to a waiting supervisor. The next section of the film focuses on one of the workers, following him from the factory to the beach at Dungeness where he goes shore fishing - he later rewards his efforts with a drink at The Pilot Inn. Back in Ashford sheep are herded onto freight trains from the pens on the sidings and onto a two-tiered lorry parked in a field. Later, the sheep, along with cattle and pigs, are unloaded from vehicles into the pens at the Ashford Cattle Market - an auctioneer from 'W & B Hobbs Auctioneers' oversees the sale of the animals to the agricultural community. Elsewhere, the local community enjoy a different type of market - men, women and children explore the wares on offer at the food and clothing stalls. Sheep are sheared with electric clippers and the wool is delivered via lorry to 'Gregory & Prentis' wool staplers in Milton. Out in the fields women sow potatoes and horse-drawn ploughs work the land. In the hopfields workers prepare the trellis for the hops - one man stands on stilts to reach the overhead support. The hop workers (mainly women and a few young children) pose for the camera whilst stopping for tea. A woman picks cherries bound for London's Borough Market. Members of a hunt gather outside a pub - the landlord supplies them with brandy before they set off with the hounds - one middle-aged woman is filmed mounting her horse to ride sidesaddle. In the woods men labour to fell huge beech (?) trees, using saws, axes, sledge hammers and wedges. The trunks of the felled tress provide the workers with a seat when they break from their labours for refreshment.
Ashford resident 'Sonny' Hanson was a keen amateur film-maker who started making films in the 1930s. As a member of The Ashford Association Film Society he worked on various group projects - they were predominantly works of fiction. The narrative-driven film-making style of fictional film-making is evident in [Ashford Railway Works: Local Industries and Farming] (ca. 1947) when a railway worker is followed on a fishing trip - the action appears to have been tightly scripted and edited. The rest of the film is concerned with documenting the industries and workers connected with Ashford. As such therefore, [Ashford Railway Works: Local Industries and Farming] (ca. 1947) offers a fascinating and well-shot record of the Ashford's varied workforce in the immediate post-war era.
[Ashford Railway Works: Local Industries and Farming] (ca. 1947) opens with detailed images of the workings of Ashford Railway Works, reflecting upon 'Sonny' Hanson's interest in engineering. When it was established in 1846 the Ashford Railway Works became the biggest employer in Ashford - it was directly responsible for the growth of the town in the mid-19th century and the development of an extensive community called 'Alfred Town' (later known as 'Newtown'). The Railway Works played a significant role during the Second World War - the skilled workers were responsible for the maintenance of the local railway infrastructure. The Railway Works closed in 1981 - [Ashford Railway Works: Local Industries and Farming] (ca. 1947) therefore serves as an important historical record of a bygone industry.
Screen Archive South East holds numerous other films with which 'Sonny' Hanson was attached. In The Ashford Carnival and Shopping Week (1949) he captures the local community at leisure, and in Watery Trail. River Medway (1938) he traverses The Medway River, filming the industries lining its banks. 'Sonny' Hanson was also the script writer and cameraman for various fictional films produced by The Ashford Association Film Society including Mrs Newlywed's First Dinner (1940s) and Cinderella. A New Version of An Old Story (late 1940s).
Screen Archive South East also houses films which cover subjects similar to those filmed in [Ashford Railway Works: Local Industries and Farming] (ca.1947). For example, In England's Garden (1930s) and Hop Fields of Kent (ca. 1937) look at agriculture in Kent. Sevenoaks Cattle Market (1999) charts the growth and demise of a town's cattle market, and [Steam Engines & Train Transport in the South East] (1964; 1966) records the railways of the South East.