The Crown of the Year
1942, Norfolk (Norfolk)
Cat no. 90
A Ministry of Information film about the importance of the harvest for the war effort.
The film shows the harvesting process and was filmed on Mr. C. Wharton's farm in East Norfolk. The film begins with shots of fields of wheat and oats. A tractor is seen ploughing the field and then a horse-drawn seed drill sows the filed. The grain harvest is described in the commentary as the crown of the farming year. The uses of the crops are explained including a reminder that in wartime barley was used for making bread also. The farmer, called George Hodge in the film, explains how his farm has developed and runs through a few statistics; the farm is about 1,000 acres and employs 20 men and 12 women. In the next sequence a tractor pulled self binder is shown cutting and tying the bundles of corn. The shocks are collected and stacked by women, some of whom are in land girl uniform. Mr. Hodge explains that the wheat continues ripening in the shocks. In this scenes All Saints' Church, Filby is visible in the background. Mr. John Hollis, an ex-East Coast fisherman, is shown out on the farm with a gun scaring the birds. The crop is loaded into a horse drawn cart. The farm horse is being ridden by a small boy. Next the farm workers are shown building a strawstack. After a panorama of the surrounding countryside, a tractor-drawn combine is shown harvesting and a tractor drawn baler, driven by a land girl collects the straw. At one stage an industrial town is seen in the background. Other farm activities are shown. Mr. Hodge is shown pumping paraffin into a can and then taking it to the tractors in the field by car. He is then shown filling the tractor. Land girls are shown breaking shocks of oats to allow them to dry after the rain. A cow is shown trapped in a ditch. It is pulled out by ropes. All the men of the farm were in the home guard and their night patrol is shown. Next the film moves on to threshing. Mr. Hodge used a contractor for threshing and explains how the machine works. He can also be seen examining the grain. The film moves on to the harvest festival service in the church. This is inter shot with scenes, probably from another farm, showing harvesting of other crops, including potatoes. All machinery in this sequence is horse-drawn. The film moves back to Mr. Hodge's farm, showing ploughing in the stubble and lifting and topping the sugar beet crop. Mr. Hodge is shown doing his accounts, planning for the next year, in which he explains crop rotation, and the importance of food supply for the country during the war. In a conversation with his local adviser, Mr. Cock, he agrees to plough up more of the marshland in an attempt to increase the cultivation of wheat. The film ends with general farming scenes, illustrating he cyclical nature of farming.
Locations: Norfolk (Norfolk)
Subject: sowing / potatoes / oats / John Hollis / Stokesby / horses / Mr Cock / Women's Land Army / World War II / horse-drawn ploughing / wheat / war effort / threshing / tractors / sugar beet / farm management / corn crops / crop rotation / combine harvesting / Charles Wharton / horse-drawn machinery / barns / All Saints' Church, Filby / cattle / harvesting / farmers / harvest festival services / Home Guard / Filby / George Hodge / farming
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