Yorkshire nostalgia: Film from 40 years ago captured tensions over ‘multiculturalism’ in Dewsbury

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This week’s featured film clip, available to view on the Yorkshire Film Archive website, deals with a topic which is as controversial today as it was 40 years ago: multiculturalism.

This film captures a demonstration by the National Front in Dewsbury, 1975. The films purpose was to record the West Yorkshire Police’s enforcing of the event, which for the most part involved avoiding clashes between NF supporters and Anti-NF protestors. This film is a tremendous account of the demonstration, as the filmmaker fluidly moves between all concerned parties, deftly conveying the social polarisation caused by multiculturalism in 1970s Britain.

The film opens in a police station where senior officers sitting in arm chairs address a group of constables. Constables in full uniform then line up, receiving orders before driving out.

Policemen file down a street in Dewsbury and patrol the area as Anti-National front supporters begin to gather. Many supporters are from diverse cultural backgrounds and hold plaques. A protestor then stands on a raised platform and makes a speech.

By a bridge, a man is dragged across the road by a police officer. Potestors move on and some shows show the police clearing the route for the National Front demonstration, which eventually reaches the protestors. Police try to hold back the protestors and some violence breaks out.


Leeds, Sweet street, 28th March 1979'LIGHTING'Mr. Eddie Mullan, a lift engineer at the City of Leeds Public Works Department, Sweet Street, gives a last polish to one of the four old gas lamps that are to be sent to Germany.

Leeds nostalgia: Bits of old Leeds sent to Germany... in 1979