|Title ID||1124||Collection ID||46|
|Title||The Wheat Harvest|
|Keywords||Animals Farming Labour Landscape Rural Areas Workers|
|Format||16mm Black & White Silent|
|Copyright & Access||Copyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details|
This amateur film with intertitles records the harvesting of wheat, tracing its journey from the field to the mill.
Two horse-drawn reapers cut down the ripened wheat in a sunlit field, leaving it for the farm workers to collect into stooks. The laborious task of loading the sheaves onto a horse-drawn cart is followed by a shots of a thrashing machine in operation. The rejected stubble is used to build huge ricks which will later serve as fodder for cattle. Finally, shots of the exterior of Littlebourne Mill and its waterwheel in action represent the stage where the grain is ground into flour.
Intertitles during the film read: "The wheat is ripe" "And ready for reaping" "Ever on the move" "The wheat is cut and stacked into sheaves" "Carting, a difficult procedure" "The thrashing process is carried out" "After thrashing the stubble is stacked into ricks for fodder for the cattle" "The grain is taken to the mill to be ground into flour" "From thence your daily bread is made"
This film offers a portrait of an agricultural world not yet touched by modernity and mechanisation. This traditionally labour-intensive industry has evolved during the 20th century with the adoption of labour-saving machinery, but during the 1930s manual and horse drawn processes were largely used to gather the harvest. Seasonal workers were employed to support the permanent farmworkers and horse-powered equipment at harvest time, the busiest time of the farming year.
Working watermills and windmills, such as the one seen in this film, were once common sights in Kent. Littlebourne Watermill stands on the Little Stour River, a river which once serviced four corn mills.
Brothers John and William (Bill) Barnes, who made this film, were enthusiastic amateur film-makers during the 1930s, documenting contemporary life in Kent. This film received a special commendation by the Board of Amateur Cine World when it was released. Other Barnes Brothers films housed at Screen Archive South East include O' Famous Kent (ca. 1936) and In the Garden of England (1938?) which looks at arable farming in Kent.
Other films which document farming in the South East in the 1930s held at Screen Archive South East include In England's Garden (1930s), Our Daily Bread (mid-1930s) and [Elsted Manor Farms] (1932 - 1948).