The Yorkshire Film Archive collects, preserves, and shows film made in, or about Yorkshire. Our collections are non-fiction, dating from the 1890s to the present day, and providing a rich and visually compelling record of all aspects of lives, cultures, landscape, industries, major events and everyday activities, many of which are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
My World: At the Sweet Factory
No Willy Wonka secretiveness here, as we are taken inside Rowntree’s giant factory in York to reveal the making of their most colourful product.
From the collection of:
At last the secret is out, of how Smarties manage not to melt in the hand. A chance to see inside York’s most famous factory, Rowntree’s Victorian Cocoa Works on Haxby Road, before the introduction of more modern manufacturing processes. Remarkably, even in 1976, the millions of Smarties made each day still have their familiar colours coated by hand.
This is a typical example of a local interest documentary made by Yorkshire Television in the 1970s. YTV started up in 1968, and lasted until 2007 when ITV took them over. Rowntrees were also taken over, by Swiss giants Nestle in 1988. They have subsequently made several changes to the brand that has lasted since 1937, including making the tubes hexagonal in 2004. Two years later, when 16,000 Smarties were consumed every minute in this country, they moved production to Hamburg –– with the loss of 645 jobs at their York works. Their most noteworthy advertising tagline was the 1961 “Buy some for Lulu” – perhaps a riposte to Dorothy Provine’s cover of "Don't Bring Lulu" which hit the charts that same year.
Travelogue 1953 21 mins Location: York
The Stationmaster at York guides us through a typical day, from dawn to dusk.
1969 0 mins Location: York
Any boy struggling to construct Meccano will deserve a chocolate break, though perhaps this won’t be as satisfying as completing the Meccano.
Advert 1955 2 mins Location: York
A drink for all occasions, but especially to relieve the stress of those brave souls battling fires, floods and well-behaved children.
Advert 1980 1 mins Location: York
The bar with unique bubbly texture, using a secret bubbly formula, giving rise to the bubbly banter of bubbly flirting.
Advert 1958 1 mins Location: York
Out goes the romantic gesture and in comes the hip as Una Stubbs and her fellow cats break open the chocolates in a groovy scene in a groovy club.
1965 1 mins Location: York
A world away from zany humour, Richard Lester shows he can also capture the easy opulence of the upper class nibbling After Eight mints.
Drama 2023 2 mins
A group of young Black boys run into a building. One of them is about to do the unimaginable.
Romance 2023 2 mins
A queercore romance - a visceral and immersive exploration of the power of the mosh pit and finding love in the most unlikely of places.
Charity appeal 1939 10 mins
Long thought lost, this Powell-directed promotional short for a veteran’s charity was only rediscovered in 2003.
Documentary 1941 6 mins
A poignant, stirring letter from a recently deceased pilot to his mother is read by John Gielgud.
Comedy 2023 2 mins
En-route to her hen weekend, bride-to-be Faye kills the vibe with a bombshell confession.
Documentary 2023 2 mins
An insight into Daytimers, the South Asian DJ collective that are breaking new ground in Britain.