CROFTER'S LIFE IN SHETLAND, a

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Places:

  • Shetland Islands

Subjects:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Birds
  • Celebrations, traditions and customs
  • Environment, the
  • Fish and fishing
  • Home life
  • Housing and living conditions
  • Music
  • Ships and shipping
  • Transport
  • Agriculture

Genres:

  • Documentary
  • Amateur
  • Women film makers

People/organisations:

  • GILBERTSON, Jenny Isabel (nee Brown)

Decade:

  • 1930s

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Please read Understanding catalogue records for help interpreting this information and Using footage for more information about accessing this film.

Overall rating:

Title: CROFTER'S LIFE IN SHETLAND, a

Reference number: 0981

Date: 1931+

Director: d. Jenny Brown

Sound: silent

Original format: 16mm

Colour: bw

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 46.00 mins

Description: A cyclical year on a croft in the Shetland Isles with scenes of islanders at work on their crofts, fishing and celebrations during the "Up Helly Aa" festival.

Credits: ph., ed. and titled by Jenny Brown
Title effects by Barbara Scott

Shotlist: REEL 1 Part 1
Credits (.14) map of Shetland Islands (.18) Year in year out, the sea breaks on the rocky coast (.20) Shots of waves breaking against rocks (.56) - blank - (.58) Out of the sea comes the crofter's dinner (1.02) Shots of two crofters fishing from a rowing boat (1.26) Meanwhile his wife is preparing the potatoes. Shots of crofter's wife washing potatoes in a bucket (1.40) and the friendly cow has given her milk for a cup of tea. Various shots of cows (2.04) The crofter's friend. Shots of Shetland ponies grazing (2.17) Getting him ready for the season of hard work. Spring. Shots of blacksmith and a pony (2.47) The unwilling horse. The pony is harnessed to a cart (3.12) Winnowing corn in the wind. Shots of the crofter and his wife working (3.50) - blank - (3.52) Spreading manure. Shots of same (4.04) In every corner of the Shetland Islands long days are spent in the field (4.07) Shots of the crofter and his wife working in the fields, including various methods of ploughing with a horse, Shetland ponies, and a bull (5.16) "Setting potatoes". Where they have no ploughs the people dell the ground. Various people dig the ground with special shovels, whilst others pick up the uncovered potatoes (5.58) Shots of small boy (6.09) Crofter ploughs the field and his wife picks the uncovered spuds (6.41) - blank - (6.43) The country folk use peat on the hillside instead of coal. Crofters dig the peat from a field (7.32) Two o'clock. The crofters stop for lunch (7.50) Bottle babies. A young girl bottle feeds a lamb (8.09) This baby is only an hour old. Shots of a lamb with its mother (8.37) The women raise the peats to let them dry and harden more quickly. Shots of women stacking the peat (8.56) In early summer the birds come back to the cliffs. Shots of same (9.32)

REEL 2 Part 2
No credits. By June, the fishing season has started in Lerwick and every morning the boats come racing in with their catch. Various shots of the boats entering Lerwick harbour (.59) A good year of herring means money circulating through the islands - a bad year means poverty. Shots of the fishermen unloading their boats (1.31) Many girls leave their crofts for a few months to gut and pack fish. Women gutting and loading the fish in to barrels (2.25) - blank - (2.28) Washing off the fish scales. Women wash scales off their aprons (2.43) The trawlers' mascot. shot of a dog with its head through a porthole (2.53) Lerwick from the water. Shot of trawler coming into Lerwick (3.24) Passenger steamer arrives (3.26) Shot of steamer docking in Lerwick (3.34) the main street. shot of people walking through narrow streets (4.00) Various children playing in narrow lanes (4.30) The baker solves the stale bun problem. shots of seagulls feeding off same (4.54) Visitors from Invergordon. shots of an RAF Supermarine Southampton seaplane landing in the harbour (5.24) - blank -(5.27) Back on the crofts the family carries on the daily work. The peats are now dry enough to be taken home. the crofter and his wife load peat onto a lorry (6.20) Where the peat banks are in the hills the sore footed Shelties carry the loads. the men and women load the peats onto the ponies (6.45) shots of the ponies walking through the hills (7.36) This pony was camera shy. Shot of pony and cart (7.54) Whoa back. The pony bolts and overturns the cart (8.17) - Blank - (8.20) And all he said was did you get that. Crofter unharnessing the pony (8.39) setting out on a misty morning to bring in the sheep from the hills. Various shots of men and women bringing in the sheep (9.21) A few sheep still in their winter woolies must be "rooed". Crofter and his wife "plucking" the wool from the sheep (9.47) "Does it hurt?" Not a bit - S'much nicer without it. More shots of crofters "rooing" the sheep (10.17) Neighbours join together for the sheep dipping. sheep go through the dipping process (10.50) Home in the evening. Shot of the crofter and wife and dog as they walk home (11.10)

REEL 3 Part 2a
No credits. From Sumburgh Head to Muckle Flugga (.02) map of Shetland Islands (.05) Sumburgh lighthouse (.06) long and c/u shots of the lighthouse (.18) Jarlshof - an earl's castle unwittingly built over Pictish underground dwellings (.23) Ruins of Jarlshof settlement (.29) Some years ago a storm swept away the foreshore and uncovered the Pict's houses (.54) the interior of the underground houses (1.02) The well inside a room. shot of a man going into the well (1.18) gvs coastline (1.31) A wayside incident shots of men fishing from the shore (2.08) - blank - (2.11) Crossing to the island of Mousa to see a Pictish broch. Shots from the boat crossing to Mousa (2.28) shots of the broch (2.32) int. and ext. shots of the broch (2.40) Mavis Grind - where the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean nearly nip the mainland in two (2.45) shot from the Mavis Grind (2.52) throwing a stone from the North Sea. Man throws a stone (2.55) shot of stone falling into the water (2.57) the man throws another stone into the ocean (3.00) Birds in the northern cliffs. shots of same (3.21) The herring gull first to lay, first to hatch. shots from above the cliffs the birds hatching (3.47) - blank - (3.49) shots of birds on land (4.05) the cormorants choose out-of-the-way homes. shots of the cormorants and their nests from above the cliff (4.22) so one has to drop in on them rather unconventionally. shots of woman, possibly Jenny Gilbertson, climbing down the side of the cliff on a rope to take a photograph (4.50) various shots of birds nests (5.19) Temper, temper. Shot of bird crying out (5.28) A crow's nest. shot of a crow's nest from above (5.40) Why was I born so beautiful? Why was I born so young? Shots of young birds in nests (6.00) Visiting the North Isles - the Skerries. view of the Skerries from the sea (6.25) Locals loading boxes onto ship (6.44) Notice his calfskin shoes an old form of footwear called "rivlins". Shot of the man in the small boat (6.57) the ferry at mid-Yell. shot of same (7.07) Landing the army at Fetlar. shots of locals unloading the boat and a young man lifting out a Salvation Army woman (7.1) Just in time for a wedding. Shots of locals walking to the church (7.52) the bride and bridesmaid arrive in the only car. shots of car and more guests arriving (8.13) The bridal car leaves for the reception (8.21) Two miles from the church to hall where they will dance to dawn. Shots of guests heading for reception (8.36) After the morning service. Shot of church and locals heading home after service (9.03) Every cliff is alive with sea-birds. Shots of same (9.17) Common guillemots. shots of same on cliff (9.42) - blank - (9.45) Find the eider duck, her camouflage is perfect. Shots of eider duck and her nest (10.00) the arctic tern. Shots of same (10.10) A baby fulmar petrel breaks through. Shots of the young bird as it hatches out (10.35) He turns into a regular spitfire. More shots of the young bird (10.51) a cave on the way to the Muckle Flugga lighthouse. general shots of cave (11.05) the most northerly lighthouse in Britain. shots of Muckle Flugga lighthouse from the sea (11.20) Would you prefer to walk or join the luggage. Varying shots of man walking and three others taking the cliffside lift to the lighthouse (11.58) gvs from top of the lighthouse (12.08) Leaving the loneliest men in Britain. shots of the visitors boarding the boat to leave the lighthouse (12.38)

REEL 4 Part 3
No credits. Hosiery, the only other industry besides herring fishing (.02) Shot of two women carding the wool (.13) she is carding the wool to take out any matted pieces. shots of another woman carding wool (.41) The rolls of carded wool are now ready for spinning into a single thread. shots of two women spinning wool (1.10) Twining the two single threads to make the finished yarn. More shots of women spinning (1.31) And every woman in Shetland knits for it is one of the few ways they can make money. shots of women knitting and spinning (1.49) and every woman in Shetland knits for it is one of the few ways they can make money. Two women show the finished products (2.18) Crops are ripening. shots of Shetland countryside (2.31) Preparing for winter. A crofter and his wife stack the hay (2.50) - Blank - (2.53) The crofter sharpens his scythe and cuts more hay. the two women stack it (4.02) some folk are always in the way. shot of a small dog in the way of the scyther (4.20) Crofter continues to stack hay (4.43) Shots of Shetland countryside (4.58) Winter seas begin to roll into the shores. shots of the waves crashing against the rocks (5.43) - Blank - (5.45) Until one morning the sheep have to breakfast on seaweed. Various shots of sheep eating seaweed (6.21) View of Shetland coastline (6.46) Croft life swings along, there are shawls to be threaded and stretched to dry. The crofter's wife threads and stretches her shawl (7.27) The washing must be done. Crofter's wife does her washing outside in a wooden tub (7.56) Peats are always needed for the fire. shots of woman loading the peats into a basket and carrying them the long way to the croft, knitting as she walks (8.45) - Blank - (8.47) Various shots of the women doing different jobs around the house (9.13) 500 years ago Shetland belonged to Norway and still the Shetlanders celebrate an ancient Norse festival. Three men look at a poster advertising the Helli Day (9.37) the Helli or Holy Days - a festival in January to welcome back the sun to the frozen north (9.41) Various banners of the 1931 Helli Day parade (9.55) Each year in Lerwick a Viking galley is built and manned by a Viking crew (9.58) Shots of the "Vikings" on the galley (10.23) A bloodless battle. Mock fight on the shore (10.39) at night the galley is dragged through the streets to the pier and burned. The crowds throw torches onto the galley as it burns (11.35) The End (11.38)