This film is part of Free

Somersetshire Dairy Farming

Milky movie: close-up on Somerset's changing milk and cheese industry

1937 12 mins


There's nothing cheesy about this sober-sided, surprisingly gripping account of the West Country milk and dairy industry. Shot on location, it ranges across Somerset's historic boundaries with Bleadon, Weston Super Mare, Cheddar, Axbridge and Bristol all cited. At the film's heart is a lengthy, well-filmed, strangely compelling sequence taking us inside the Rooksbridge cheese factory (which would not close until 1993, after 123 years).

Producers Gaumont-British Instructional were the leading purveyor of schools films in the 1930s - their Regional Geography series was a major production line that was well-regarded by forward-thinking educationalists. Live on-location sound (as opposed to the music, effects and commentary added in the cutting room, very effectively in this case) was an expensive rarity in non-fiction films of the 1930s. A key geography learning point is the difference between small and large farms: the film paints an interesting picture of an industry in transition, from the hand-milked family farming of centuries gone by to the corporate factory farming of our own times.