Oakham is the largest settlement in Rutland, England’s smallest county. It’s packed full of historic buildings and has long caught the interest of filmmakers.
Agricultural Workers In World War I
Woman have always worked in the countryside, but during the Great War they took on new roles and were present in greater numbers than usual. Shipping supplies were badly affected and revealed how reliant Britain was on imported foods, making home production a national issue.
This British Pathé film captures wartime female agricultural workers doing a variety of tasks in front of an audience. It appears to be a competition. Furthermore, they battle on in full length skirts and with coverings over their long hair.
This British Pathé film clip from 1944 lasts just one minute and 32 seconds, but manages to visit both of Rutland’s towns.
At the time of filming, Oakham looks more like quiet village of thatched cottages than a town. Everything shown is old and beautiful. Footage includes regency houses, the market square with stocks, All Saints church, and the banqueting hall which is the last surviving building from Oakham Castle. Two cars, one driving along and the other one parked, are the only motor traffic present in the town’s quiet streets.
A few more parked cars are present in the opening shots of this silent British Pathé film from 1947, but they are still outnumbered by bicycles and pedestrians.
In the next scene as the town Pageant begins, crowds of spectators and participants dominate the scene. It starts with a marching band, military and uniformed marchers, then a few sombre floats of people dressed up. The vehicles also have ‘Fight For Rutland’s Independence’ posters on the front. At one point two Hunt riders in redcoats march along with a pack of foxhounds.
The action then moves to a field, where spectators stand or mill around the floats of people in costumes. There’s also a boxing match between two men in Victorian costumes.
The final scenes, showing the railway station and the ancient heart of the village, are almost deserted of people or traffic.
The Early New Century
Uploaded by Richard Adams, this is a video prepared for the National Judges when Oakham reached the final of Britain in Bloom in 2006. It features many locations around the town and a good range of photos of local residents.
YouTube channel ManAboutTowns uploaded a video of a drive through the town’s central street in January 2009.
Oakham After 2010
The level crossing at the railway station was repaired in 2013, when Jim Harrison recorded the activity.
On a sunny day in 2014 Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall visited a number of locations around Oakham. They also met a number of local residents at each stop.
At 10.25pm on Wednesday 28 January 2015, Oakham was at the epicentre of an earthquake. With a magnitude of 3.8, the shaking was felt by residents for up to ten seconds. BBC East Midlands News reported on the unusual event, with warnings about more activity to come.
On 14th September 2015, storms and heavy rain caused flash flooding across Britain. Subsequently the main road through Oakham was under several inches of water, as captured on film by YouTube channel Home James.
Back to Rutland page
Back to Local History Videos home page