By Andy Hirst

A film show is to feature the work of an amateur film-maker from Linthwaite who shot amazing footage from the 1930s to the 1950s.

The local mainly colour films made by teacher Lucy Fairbank are fascinating snapshots in history and Huddersfield Hub recently featured her 1950s colour film called The Camera Looks Down On Colne Valley.

But she made many more films both in the Colne Valley, on school trips and visits overseas and some will be screened at a special showing in Slaithwaite this weekend.

One of Lucy’s overseas trips was a journey back from France in August 1939 just days before World War Two broke out.

Another has a fleeting glance of Hitler being driven past in his staff car when she attended a passion play at Oberammergau in Germany in 1934 on the 300th anniversary of the first performance of the Passion Play.

Lucy taught infants at Linthwaite Council School – now Linthwaite Clough Junior and Infant School – from 1910 until she retired in 1952 and made more than 50 films.

After retiring, she spent time in the late 1950s walking with friends and filming with her cine camera throughout the Colne Valley, including film of Scammonden long before the reservoir was built.

She gave 45 films to former pupil Ian Baxter, who was interested in 16mm film, in 1974. Lucy died in 1983.

Ian, now 84, holds film events and the next one is this Saturday, January 21, at St James Church, Slaithwaite, from 3pm. It will be screened using an original cine projector, last around two hours and tickets are £5 for adults and £2 for children, including a drink.

Ian said: “Lucy was probably the first amateur cinematographer in Huddersfield as it was a very expensive hobby in those days. She had the films processed by Kodak and then added the titles herself. Being a teacher, she used a blackboard and chalk.”

Ian Baxter

She joined a group called Huddersfield Screenplayers to learn about film-making before buying her camera. This was the forerunner to Huddersfield Cine Club which has now become Huddersfield Film Makers Club.

Lucy filmed many weddings so the families of the people who had commissioned them will probably still have them.

She also filmed children aged eight to 10 from her school travelling by train to the British Empire Exhibition in Glasgow in 1938.

“The whole film is incredibly art deco,” said Ian. “It’s absolutely fascinating.”

He thinks one of her best films was called Whitby and District where she filmed the popular Yorkshire coast resort at Easter 1938.

Before the Second World War Lucy would often venture abroad with Miss Clarence Mountain who was in charge of the infants section at Linthwaite Council School.

Ian says there is some great film of the docks at Calais in August 1939 as they returned to England after a holiday in France.

He said: “You could feel a sense of urgency that they wanted to get home quickly.”

Britain and France declared war on Germany days later on September 3 after Hitler’s troops invaded Poland.

The first colour film Miss Fairbank shot was in July 1940 when Edward Fielding, who later became middle school headmaster at Colne Valley High School, married Marjorie Baxter.

Ian said he hasn’t finally decided which films to show on Saturday but one will be a wedding and it will start with Lucy’s early films and finish with some footage of Colne Valley in the 1950s.

Filling in Huddersfield Narrow Canal in the centre of Slaithwaite village in 1956. Photo from film by Lucy Fairbank

Ian’s plan is to eventually hand the films over to the Yorkshire Film Archive so they can be watched by future generations.

People attending the show can pay at the door but the organisers say it would great to know how many are coming. To reserve tickets email Ali Baxter at or phone 01484 840034.

Proceeds from the event will go to the church’s appeal to buy new straps for its bells and cake will be on sale during the interval.

If it’s really cold people are advised to take a blanket with them.

Andy Hirst runs his own freelance journalism, website content and blogging agency AH! PR and can be contacted on