THE FALL AND RISE OF THE BARWICK MAYPOLE 1978 (1978) film no: 1485
This is a documentary film showing the traditional taking down, re-painting and putting back up, of the maypole in the centre of Barwick village.
Title: ‘Leeds Movie Makers present the fall and rise of the barwick maypole’
The film begins by zooming onto a map showing Barwick in Elmet, seven miles east of Leeds. On 4.55 pm Monday 27th March 1978 the 90 foot town maypole is being taken down in the traditional manner, as it is every three years. The pole man, elected by the Maypole Committee, ascends the pole, first up a ladder, and then without one. As a large crowd watches, he attaches the five ropes that allow for the long pole to be lowered to the ground. The volunteer helpers are kept supplied with free liquid refreshment, beer. The watching crowd grab the ropes to lower the pole. Using ladders to prop up the pole it is gradually lowered and two hundred of the crowd carry the pole away to a field.
On Tuesday 30th May 1978, the maypole, newly painted, is laid in a field where there is a gala attended by three thousand people. A large crowd, sat on a steep grass bank, watch as ceremonies are performed by the Mayoress and other dignitaries. Back in the town centre people are flocked outside the pubs waiting for the pole to be erected. A man digs a deep hole, cut into solid rock, for the pole to go into. At the gala prizes for the jazz competition are being given out, and decorations inspected. 10,000 people have come to Barwick for the day with the prospect of a free pint for all those who help to carry the pole and erect it. The pole is slowly erected using ropes and ladders. Finally the pole is in place and helpers fill up their glasses from a bucket. One of the villagers climbs up the pole to remove the ropes and then on to the top to spin the gilded fox. Having successfully got back down in one piece, the Morris Dancers break out in celebration.
End Credits: ‘the movie makers were amanda ward, allan abbott, dave morton. Duncan ward, arthur steels barrie wilson
The End Leeds Cine Club