Well Dressing Beware - Other Colour Pics… 1962

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    Buxton Spa, Derbyshire.

    Low angle M/S of two girls holding bouquets of flowers in their arms. L/S of the same girls picking flowers from the flower bushes. M/S of each of the girls picking flowers.

    Cut to a M/S of a girl and a boy picking wild flowers in a field. Little boy has a huge bunch of flowers in his arms. Lovely shots of the two toddlers being irresistibly, charmingly clumsy as they run around picking flowers.

    M/S of two teenage girls picking flowers. "Are all the children of the Derby dales gathering flowers? Well, of course they are. It's well-dressing time in Derbyshire and everyone is pleased to lend a hand." Well-dressing takes place during midsummer season in villages across Derbyshire.

    At Buxton Spa two wells - one in the Market Place and the other called St. Ann's - are "being beautified". The well dressing begins by laying wet clay on a board. Then the petals are pressed into it.

    C/U shots of flowers (daisies and violet coloured carnations) being placed into bucket. High angle shot of hands of a woman picking flower tops from the bucket. Camera pans as she approaches the well where the other two women sitting concentrating on their work.

    Top C/U shot of hand placing white daisy petals on the empty spot on the well. Top shot of the three women "painting with petals" - great view of the colourful well. C/U on the hand of a woman using tweezers to place the tiny fragile petals correctly.

    Although the well dressing is described as painting with petals, birch-bark, grass-seed, mosses, sawdust, straw and rice have been used to create colourful biblical scenes. One well-painting reveals a copy of the Sutherland tapestry that hangs in Coventry Cathedral and another is the painting of Saint Martin and the Beggar. "It's appropriate, too. For a lot of money is collected for charity." - explains the voiceover.

    Succession of C/U shots of hands placing petals on the well to create the images, juxtaposed with occasional C/U shots of faces of women concentrating on their work.

    L/S of the three men checking the painting from all angles and removing ladder from the well. Slow tilting shot from top of the well to bottom finally reveals the grandiose painting - the men still checking to make sure that everything is done to perfection.

    Slow tilting shot from the top of the other well reveals the 'painting' of St. Martin and the Beggar. Cut to C/U shot of the details demonstrating the amount of work and the degree of skill needed to create the picture. Camera allows the audience to admire the work.

    "When work is finally completed, the dressings are traditionally blessed". M/S of the priest approaching the well with the 'painting' of the Sutherland tapestry from Coventry Cathedral, blessing it.

    Note: Blessing of the well has become the opening ceremony of The Festival of Well Dressing - a yearly festival held in Buxton.

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    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    Media URN:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Film ID:
    Time in/Out:
    01:48:04:00 / 01:51:07:00
    CP 403
    Sort Number:
    CP 403
  • Appears in...

    Sport & Leisure Religion & Politics Science & Technology
    TRADITION War Requiem
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