Leeds nostalgia: Footage shows man climbing the Barwick Maypole

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This week’s film, available to view on the Yorkshire Film Archive website, is a documentary film showing the traditional taking down, re-painting and putting back up, of the maypole in the centre of Barwick village.

Under the 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.

At 4.55pm Monday March 27, 1978 the 90 foot town maypole, was being taken down in the traditional manner, as it was every three years.

The pole man, elected by the Maypole Committee, ascended the pole, first up a ladder, and then without one. As a large crowd watched, he attached the five ropes that allowed for the long pole to be lowered to the ground. The volunteer helpers were kept supplied with free liquid refreshment: beer.

The watching crowd then 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 May 30, 1978, the maypole, newly painted, is laid in a field where there is a gala attended by three thousand people.

See more at: tinyurl.com/hndyd37

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