The Group, headed by retired television producer Geoff Arthurs, has travelled over 600 miles in their quest for relevant information including first hand interviews, country scenes, rare archival footage and even a trip to Coates near Cirencester to film Lord Norton’s former stately mansion that was transported there brick-by-brick by train and canal from Lea Marston, North Warwickshire.
Hams Hall take away, 1920s
The main aim of the Group was to capture the ancient and modern history of the area before it had all passed into distant memory, starting from the Stone Age until the New Millennium. This at first posed a problem for if history is not presented well, it can become little bit laborious and wearisome, so they came up with the idea of a ‘Time Cab’ that would transport a modern-day presenter, Barry James, back into time, stopping off at the periods of conflict and interest. They also contacted several re-enactment societies who recreated for the film, dramatic scenes from our rich and turbulent past, including the colourful battle for Warwick Castle in 1642; there the Group amassed over 3,000 fully armed extras.
A Civil War on the march
It was not only the drama that the Group wished to capture on film but also the tender memories and beautiful North Warwick countryside that surrounds us. To accomplish this, the group advertised in local magazines, scoured libraries, asked for old forgotten photographs hidden in sideboards, and any local film material that people may have in their possession. The response was phenomenal and amazingly, much of the information concerned vivid memories of the Second World War as though it was only yesterday. This was to become a major section of the film, as everyone was so passionate about it, including one elderly gentleman who had worked at the Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory, producing Spitfires & Lancasters. Also in his spare time had managed to film in black & white some of the operations there during those hard and dark times. A photographic scoop indeed!
During those 10 years of researching and filming the Group amassed over 60 hours of material all of which had to be logged, vetted and finally edited, a mammoth task indeed. It was then that the Group decided that they had too much excellent material for one film, so it was separated into two themes. Film 1. (‘A Circle of History’, running 2 hours), focusing on the heritage of the area. Film 2. on the village’s social life, (‘Curdworth Village Diaries’, running 1 hour). The latter captures the communal life since 1970, including the WI, Scouts, Art Classes, Village Fetes and when Curdworth Village joined with Coleshill Town in a valiant battle against the advent of the BNNR, (M6 Toll), Later from the all the information contained in the films and old photographs, they have also compiled a 68-page book spanning 100 years of Curdworth’s history.
Barry James with Mike O'Brien MP during the BNRR debate 1993
The two DVD Box Set, (£12 + £1 p/p) is available from Curdworth Post Office or by contacting, Geoff Arthurs, 8, Church Lane, Curdworth, North Warwicks, B76 9EY.
Tel - 01675 475 766.