Yorkshire nostalgia: Egg hunters from the coast

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Filmed in 1908, this film shows a group of men, known as ‘climmers’, who collect eggs from bird nests on the cliffs at Flamborough.

A group of men emerge from a dugout at the top of the cliffs. They are carrying ropes, pickaxes, and other implements. One man sits on the ground holding a rope that is tethered to the ground with a metal spike. Another man climbs to the cliff edge whilst a third abseils down the cliff. He kicks off the cliff face, and each time he falls back to the cliff, he collects eggs from the birds’ nests placing them in sacks hanging around his waist. The film then shows a close-up of a man collecting eggs from the cliff face. (It is most likely this scene had been set up – it not being possible to film this any other way at the time.)

The next portion of the film shows the man pulling himself back up the rope as he ‘bounces’ off the cliff face. On top of the cliff, five men sitting on the ground pull up the rope. The climmer turns to the camera holding up an egg. The eggs are unloaded into a basket, later being distributed into several baskets. The climmer then holds a Puffin in one hand and a Guillemot in the other. The film is available on the Yorkshire Film Archive website. The archive is based in York.

Click here to see it.

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