Yorkshire Cine Co., Limited
The Yorkshire Cine Co. Ltd. (Y.C.C.) was registered on 19 October 1914 with a capital of £2,000 in £1 shares "to carry on the business of manufacturers, sellers and letters to hire of kinematograph films, etc."
The company acquired the business of the Yorkshire Film Sales Agency (also known as the Yorkshire Sales Agency), which had been distributing Bamforth short comedy films since May 1914, and took over the former company's offices at 30 Gerrard Street, West London. The coverage in The Bioscope suggests that the company may have been formed in tandem with of an expansion of film production facilities at the Bamforth studios in Holmfirth:
UNDER NEW DIRECTION. The film trading business formerly known as the Yorkshire Sales Agency, has now passed into the hands of the Yorkshire Cine Company, Limited, an entirely new company, of which Mr. H. Ottewill Bruce is the managing director, and Mr. J. E. Pryde-Hughes, the secretary. The address will be, as heretofore, at 30, Gerrard Street, W., where a comfortable private theatre enables the screening of subjects for view. The firm, in addition to introducing various novelties to the market, will continue to handle the “Bamforth” productions, the studio for which has been considerably enlarged and improved during the last few weeks. A new series of war cartoons by British artists is now ready, and additions will be reproduced as secured. There is also on show a capital comedy, entitled “Winky’s Stratagem,” a review of which will be found in our “Pick of the Programmes” section, and for which November 22nd is the release date selected.
In December 1914, Bruce wrote to The Bioscope to address a series of "false statements". Amongst these was seemingly a suggestion that "Winky" actor Reginald Switz (born Reginald Alfred Schwitzguebel with Swiss ancestry) was not English — perhaps a reflection of growing distrust of foreigners following the outbreak of the First World War.
THE YORKSHIRE CINE CO., LTD.
To the Editor of The Bioscope.
It has come to our knowledge that some person, probably actuated by foolish or other motives, is making various false statements in regard to the affairs of this company. To refuse these statements, we have thought it wise to make the following announcement, to which we trust you will give publicity.
Mr. Lewis Roach is totally unconnected with the business and affairs of the Yorkshire Cine Company, Limited.
The business, premises, goodwill, furniture, fittings and fixtures of the Yorkshire Sales Agency were bought in their entirety from Messrs. Bamforth and Co., Limited, and no other person or persons were in any way associated with the transaction.
The Yorkshire Cine Company, Limited, is an entirely different company to the Yorkshire Sales Agency, not one of whose employees remain in its service.
“Winky,” the star comedian of Bamforth films, is an Englishman, and the son of an Englishman.
Thanking you in anticipation of you giving these facts the valuable publicity of your columns.
- Yours, etc.,
- The Yorkshire Cine Company, Limited.
- H. O. Bruce, Managing Director.
30, Gerrard Street, W.
December 21, 1914.
Although the company initially acted solely as the distributor for Bamforth, it later distributed productions by other firms including Kioto Film, Horse Shoe, EC-KO, Planet, Searchlight, and Coronet. The bulk of the films were short comedies, but titles such as Dances of the Season (featuring footage of the "famous Geishas of Kobe") and The Gion Jinji Festival (released 4 March 1915) may have reflected J. E. Pryde-Hughes' own interests in foreign travel.
The company appears to have been in difficulties by 1916. According to a court case brought by actress Hetty Payne in October 1916 against Bamforth regarding the film Paula (1916), Bamforth had received only £150 of the £2,500 they were expecting from the film's distributor (Yorkshire Cine Co. Ltd.). This may help explain why Bamforth's had begun using rival distributor Pathé by 1917.
In April 1917, they advertised three Bamforth "Winky" titles: How Winky Whacked the Germans (16 April, 620 feet), Winky Gets Blown Out (26 April, 475 feet) and Winky Tries Chicken Raising (3 May, 517 feet). As these were unlikely to be newly filmed titles — Winky Tries Chicken Raising had previously been released in October 1914 — they may have been previously unreleased titles, retitled versions of previously released films, or perhaps re-edited footage.
The company appears to ceased distribution in late 1917 and was struck off in 1920.
Notes and References
- Kinematograph Weekly (29/Oct/1914) page 55.
- The Bioscope (29/Oct/1914) page 407.
- Horace Ottewill Bruce was born in Kent circa 1889 and had previously worked as a journalist (1911 Census). He married Lilian Park on 30 January 1915 in South Africa.
- John Edward Pryde-Hughes was born on 14 July 1884. He married Rose Buhler in 1913 and later worked as a journalist and author (1939 Register) He became known as a noted travelogue writer.
- The Bioscope (24/Dec/1914) page 1310.
- The earliest of which appears to be documentary Making Khaki on 1 March 1915, 504 feet, although most of the company's other films are short comedies.
- Also listed in trade journals as How Winky Tracked the Germans, it reportedly also featured actress Lily Ward.
- The London Gazette (11/Jun/1920) pages 6491-92.