Friday, August 17, 2012

living pictures passion play

Lancashire workers enjoy the ‘wakes week’ holiday in this early film from travelling filmmakers Mitchell & Kenyon.

This short film was screened up to 20 times a day in August 1901 to entertain the poorer children of Salford. The wakes week was an industrial holiday introduced in the 19th century, involving the annual closure of the workplace to allow for maintenance and leisure time for the workers. This unpaid seven–day holiday for the workers of Lancashire’s textile factories (the women workers are easily recognisable by their shawls) became a social custom. Leisure industries developed due to this increase in recreational time. Travelling fairs would visit during the wakes week to entertain the holidaymakers.

Sight & Sound

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