Dockfield Delight is a little love letter to the Dockfield area of Shipley. This is an “island” neighbourhood, sandwiched between the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, on either side, with “Mucky Beck” just down the way. Homes and factories have sat side by side here ever since the area’s industrialisation in the later 19th Century.
The film is literally an after-thought. Completed after the Multi-Story Water project had officially ended, it’s a kind of coda — a quiet goodbye and thankyou to Shipley, and to Dockfield in particular. It’s also a “spin-off” from our theatre piece This Island’s Mine, which was performed in homes, pubs and clubs in April 2017. At the time, we thought about making a film version of the show, and shot a bunch of location footage to work in alongside live performance footage. In the end, we couldn’t see a way to make the live stuff work as a film, but we liked the location footage and didn’t want to just waste it. So we made this little piece instead, using the voices of Kat and Steve — the performers from This Island — to comment on the moving pictures…
The feel we went for is a sort of “director’s commentary on the DVD extras”: we wanted to keep it informal and unscripted, so we really are just improvising words to go with the images. We’re also improvising our characters. Neither of us has ever actually lived in Dockfield, but we’re acting as if the two of us are cousins — that Kat grew up here, and that Steve has been visiting ever since he was a kid. None of which is true. Still, just as with This Island’s Mine, we’re basing our “let’s pretend” on careful research, and on conversations with people who have long memories of Dockfield. So it’s a kind of truthful fiction. (And Steve almost wishes he did grow up here!)
Dockfield Delight “premiered” on 19th March 2018 — when we posted the Youtube link on the Shipley Photographs and Memories Facebook group. It got a great reaction — with several group members sharing it on their own feeds. The film gathered over 500 views inside 24 hours, and sparked some fond memories from viewers — just as we’d hoped it might.
Below are comments that appeared on the group feed that evening, in the order they appeared (but with surnames redacted for privacy). Thanks everyone for your thoughts and memories!
Filmed and voiced by Kat Rose-Martin and Steve Scott-Bottoms
Edited by Tom Blagden
(c) Multi-Story Water 2018