Thursday, 3 February 2011

News - Take a look at Newark as seen in 1942

A wartime propaganda documentary set in Newark has been published online as part of a project to make a national archive of films available to the public.
The 1942 documentary, called Market Town, was one of many films commissioned by the British Council.

It would have been sent all over the globe to showcase Britain to the outside world. The ten-minute film follows the events of a typical market day, highlighting Newark’s importance as a central hub for buying and selling activities between town and country.

Although the narrator makes a point of not naming Newark or its landmarks — there were wartime security restrictions and the plan was to focus on a typical, not specific, market town — there is no mistaking its identity as the film’s location.

The view of Newark Parish Church from the surrounding countryside as people walk, cycle or drive to the town for market day is the first give away.

Vehicles pass the former Midland Hotel, near the Castle Station railway crossing, heading over Beastmarket Hill into the town.

Farmers are filmed driving their animals through the streets to the cattle market, which, in 1942, was located at what is now the Riverside Arena on Tolney Lane, where it remained until 1990.

An auction at the cattle market is captured on film, along with buying and selling at the poultry market at The Wharf.

An aerial shot shows old-style market stalls in the largely unchanged surroundings of the Market Place.

The Town Hall and other historic buildings around the Market Place, including the Governor’s House (now Greggs) and the White Hart Inn, which was Bainbridge and Co at the time and is now The Nottingham, are featured.

The film also shows scenes of the old British Sugar factory and maltings along the River Trent.

The footage has been digitised and published online through the Time/Image project, which is inviting the public to explore and discuss the films of the British Council.

The Newark film has been held in the British Film Institute archives for decades without being seen by the public.

A member of the project, Sarah Cole, said they did not know why Newark was chosen.

She said it may be because a similar film, called Country Town, was filmed about the same time at Boston.

The film charts the development of Newark at the crossing of the River Trent, including the building of the Fosse Way, now the A46, and the Great North Road, now the A1.

Sarah Cole said there were some complaints at the time that it misrepresented Newark’s history, showing it growing up around the roads and market rather than the castle.

She said: “The differences between Newark today and Newark in 1942 are compelling — seeing how the main landmarks have remained the same while the scenery and people around them have changed is fascinating.”

She urged people to contact them with their opinions about the film and if it held any particular significance for them. Email the project team at
If you go to the Newark Advertiser website you can watch the 10 minute film

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