Yard Works on Film

Photograph of the entrance to the Yard Works, decorated for the 1913 Royal visit, Harris Museum collection.

The Yard Works was a huge cotton manufacturing complex which once stood in the centre of Preston. You can see it on the 1890 map of Preston at the end of Church Street and Stanley Street. The Yard Works was founded by John Horrocks in 1791 and developed into the centre of the Horrockses cotton empire. By 1913 the company was the largest in Britain and the Yard Works was one of the most important industrial sites in the world, attracting many important visitors and film makers.

I believe that the Yard Works is one of the most well documented industrial sites in Britain. Dozens of films were made featuring the Yard Works and many still survive. This has not always been recognised in the film catalogues but is something I am working to rectify.  Below is a list of the films that I have discovered of the Yard Works. Some of these were shown in the film show at the Mitchell and Kenyon Cinema on the 9 September 2010. All these films are available to view as viewing copies at the archives, except where I have indicated. Pathe films and films by Rachel Riggs can be viewed on-line – just follow the links.

Workforce at Horrocks, Miller and Co, 1901 by Mitchell & Kenyon,  BFI National Archive

The Cotton Industry, 1913-14 by Will Onda, BFI National Archive (this has not yet been copied from the nitrate)

Royal visit to Messrs Horrockses Factory, 8th July 1913 by Will Onda, North West Film Archive.

Horrockses Compilation – including footage from the 1913 visit, North West Film Archive. Probably fragments from Will Onda films.

Horrockses Factory circa 1919, North West Film Archive. Onda?

The Duke of Yorks Visit to Horrocks Mill by Will Onda, 1922, BFI National Film Archive.

A Welcome to the Sultan from Horrockses (Visit of the Sultan of Zanzibar) 1929 by Will Onda , North West Film Archive.

Britain the Consumer – Egypt the Producer (Visit of King Fuad of Egypt to Horrockses), 1926, British Pathe Collection.

Preston – The Tide is Turning, 1931, British Pathe Collection.

Lancashire Cotton Crisis: 1955 British Pathe Collection. Skyline view of Preston and Horrockses chimneys only.

County Borough of Preston – Invasion exercises, 1942. North West Film Archive. Shots of wardens putting out ‘fires’ at the Yard Works.

Hindle Wakes, 1952 – this was shot at the Yard Works in Preston and in Blackpool, and is available on dvd.

Always and Nowhere, part one with Pat Evans and music by Air, by Rachel Riggs, 2009.

Always and nowhere part two with Pat Evans by Rachel Riggs, 2009

Yardworks by Rachel Riggs, 2009

Yardworks, Preston – Butterflies by Rachel Riggs, 2009

About Emma Heslewood

I am a historian and museum curator with broad interests including early topical films, social and industrial history, numismatics, archaeology and WW1. I am an expert on the life and work of the Victorian acrobat and topical film maker - Will Onda.
This entry was posted in Events, Film Research, Horrockses Yard Works, Will Onda. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Yard Works on Film

  1. dnapuppetry says:

    Thanks Emma, for posting my film links, all the best, great blog,

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