Dockfield Delight (2018)

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!

Damien Fantastic


Julie  I spent the first 24 years of my life living here – I’m 57 and haven’t moved far away. Spent a lot of summers playing “over on the field”, and helping open the swing bridge to let boats pass. Getting my sweets from Hutchinsons corner shop…
Lynda Very nice little film I enjoyed it. I grew up near there in the 1950s and my parents both worked at Lower Holme mill. Thank you for posting it.
Chris Many a happy time there in late 60’s early 70’s fishing and swimming in the cut.
Ely I spent most of my school holidays biking up and down that stretch of canal back in the sixties.😊 And spent most of my pocket money at Ellis Briggs. Well done on the video
Jeffrey I sometimes went train spotting on Dock Lane by the signal box and remember the waste land there with a corrugated tin shed in the middle back in the late 60s and I also now live at Amber Wharf…..Enjoyed the video.
Don A pleasure to watch brought back loads of memories thank you very much
Chriss  Cracking video 👍

Tim Excellent. May I post it on the Baildon FB group please ?

Vera Very impressed 😊
Andy Great little film guys my nan lived on Dockfield terrace spent a lot of time there
Ann  Great film. My grandad was boilerman at the mill and we spent many sunday afternoons walking along the canal bank with him. He also had one of the allotments that were pulled down to make way for a car company. Shameful. !!!!!!!
John  Memories to treasure and keep.
Janet  Great film,didn’t live far away,at lower Holmes,from been born till I was 10,we had lots of fun playing near the canal and surrounding area,happy memories 😊x
Mickey Love it
Andy Loved it used to live up west royd 30 years ago spent loads of time fishing there then ended up working for the British waterways looking after this stretch of the canal memories come flooding back thanks very much

Rebecca  Aww my family own the house on the bridge they’ll love this x

Jacqueline Thank you! I enjoyed that.
Catherine Thanks, great film! I will show it to my dad who grew up round there & began his working career at CF Taylor’s. Now a great running route for me too, so nice to see it all in the sunshine! X
Joy  Love it, you’re naturals! Mind you, sadly I hardly recognised anywhere, only the old junction bridge and Baildon bridge. So much has changed since the 50s (of course).

Filmed and voiced by Kat Rose-Martin and Steve Scott-Bottoms

Edited by Tom Blagden

(c) Multi-Story Water 2018