Film, moving image, is fast becoming the go-to for communicating using social media. However when crafted with skill and care it can also become a valuable piece of social history. A friend, Bridget Long, and her siblings, have recently inherited responsibility for the grade II listed property in which Bridget was born and all three were brought up. This place has been enjoyed by four generations of their family and is undoubtedly a very special property.
Located in the Buckinghamshire village of North Marston, Wheatsheaf Farm has been at the heart of the community since its construction in the early 1600s. It was a pub from at least 1777 to which the original tap room is testimony, and in the 1970s its barn played host to teas for village cricket matches.
With great sadness it is now time to seek new custodians for the Wheatsheaf. Bridget and her family have given it a fitting send-off: a new thatch was commissioned and they grasped this opportunity to re-engage with the property and create a film, ‘Growing up under the thatch’.
The film draws on a variety of media: current day filming, Super 8 ciné film taken in the 1960s and photographs, overlaid with a well-constructed narrative and carefully selected music. It creates a wonderful insight into everyday life growing up on a smallholding with parents focused on using the buildings and land to living self-sufficiently – which might otherwise have slipped into the past, unrecorded. This six-minute documentary perhaps casts a light on the irony that whilst video and photographs have become easy to create, their plethora may bury memories permanently in the past if they are not revisited, edited and reworked.
The Wheatsheaf film has deftly captured the richness of our shared heritage: not simply a work of construction which encircles a space, but most importantly the lives lived within and without, with a hint at its wider contribution in society. A film like this offers an incredibly accessible means by which to engage with a particular type of life in our recent past, and will be a wonderful asset to our national social history.
Thank you to Bridget and her family for their forethought; seizing the day and sharing their reflections on life in this house and village.