A Race Against Time

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane with A Race Through Time from Excalibur Productions

Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd star in their first road movie! Newly restored archive film of a car journey from Cragg Vale to Hebden Bridge features as the centrepiece of A Race Through Time, the latest release from locally-based historian and documentary maker Nicholas J. Wilding.

The film was taken in 1947 by Kenneth Crabtree, a member of the cine section of the Literary and Scientific Society, and was part of a rare collection of archive footage brought to Mr Wilding's attention by a local resident. The film had originally been speeded up to show the entire journey from the top of Cragg Vale, through Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge to Cross Lanes Chapel in a breathtaking 21 seconds. The restored footage takes a more leisurely pace and provides a fascinating glimpse into the people and buildings of the Calder Valley in a bygone era.

To illustrate the massive changes that the valley has undergone in the intervening 60 years, the same journey was recreated in 2003 and 'A Race Through Time' shows the new and old journeys alongside one another. Matching the speed of the new and old cars provided quite a challenge for Mr Wilding, as the traffic is now somewhat heavier than in 1947! Narration along the journey is provided by Don's Hurst, Lloyd Greenwood and Donald Crossley, who also featured on the popular video A Tale of Two Towns documenting the history of Hebden Bridge and Todmorden.

The images in the footage - showing enduring landmarks as well as mills, shops and houses long since demolished - are accompanied by interviews with people who lived and worked in the valley during the last century. In this way, according to Mr Wilding, 'Ken Crabtree's film becomes a vehicle for exploring some of the themes that have emerged in our interviews with people about the past in this area.' Amongst those sharing their memories is the late Clara Manning who, at the grand age of 103, recalls the building of Caldene Bridge in 1910; and Sir Bernard Ingham, who recalls his earliest days as a reporter for the Hebden Bridge Times.

Through these reminiscences and archive photographs, the programme does more than simply show how the valley looked 60 years ago. It takes the viewer on a journey back to the births of Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd - a time when neither canal nor turnpike roads had been built and follows their development to the towns we see today. A Race Through Time should appeal not just to those people who have lived here all their lives but to anybody who has more recently chosen to make this area their home.

A Race Against Time