Leeds nostalgia: Film shows vespers in Leeds

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This week’s featured film clip, available to view on the YFA website, shows the 1959, the Vespa Club of Britain’s National Rally, which was held in Leeds.

This film documents some of the events from that day and includes very well shot scenes of Vespa scooters as well as good examples women’s fashions.

The film begins with a close up of the back of a red Vespa motorbike as it pulls away. The riders congregate in a large park. Several people are wearing overalls of different colours, and signs can be seen for groups from Harrow and South End as well as for the two stroke refuelling point. Some of the Vespas have women riders, and many people are walking along the road to the rally. Finally, the Vespas form a long line and are ready for the rally to begin.

The rally travels through the streets of Leeds. The group from Wolverhampton come towards the camera. The Vespas travel along the roads of Leeds and various cars pass by in addition to a red motorbike with a side car. The Cheltenham group has turned out for the day, and a man and woman on a Vespa pass the rest of the rally and wave.

There are further shots of the Vespas en route.

Back in the park the various clubs are grouped together. Notable are the Sheffield Club and the Wales Club who are wearing bright red overalls. People are seated on the grass eating lunch, and one group has a picnic hamper complete with matching tea cups. A Vespa clothing stall is in the background, and there is an A.A stand with a large yellow van. The enthusiasts at the event view a display of Vespas, and after which, assault courses begin. Vespa riders steer the bikes left and right through the courses. Next there is a race with two riders; one is seated back to back with the driver holding a plate with an egg on it in one hand. The girl in the foreground is wearing red pedal pushers and a headscarf. The final race has the rider on the back attempting to pick up hoops from a stand with a baton as the Vespa passes by.

The film contains well shot scenes of riders passing by groups of spectators. A man from the A.A who is wearing yellow overalls makes a speech, and a girl is awarded with a sash by a woman in a traditional 1950s style dress. There is also a shot of a young girl asleep on a picnic blanket as well as the Frank Ginelli Ice Cream stand.

The next display involves men in black suits wearing bowler hats and carrying black umbrellas. In the next shot, they are seen in their shirts, ties and underpants, fooling around with a large red ball. A speech from an A.A representative follows, and awards are handed out. Small shields are given to several people, and a young girl receives a box of Roses chocolates. The Wales club also receive trophies. Finally a gentleman walks up to collect the winning Shield which he holds up for the camera.

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