skip navigation


Maryport in the ?1960's

Ye Olde Maryport

Sam Allan recently found this magical postcard of one of my favourite places - Maryport.
The town is one of the starts of our film "Bata-ville: We are not afraid of the future", and I don't think any 'Marras' would take it the wrong way if I said that you could scarcely buy a postcard of the town now, some 40 odd years after this postcard was editioned. It's just not that kind of a place.
Intriguingly, the postcard is addressed to someone in Northern Italy, it's postmarked too, but seems somehow to have found its way back to Cumbria.

Maryport Bata factory
date unknown...

Maryport pathos

Frank Zappa sang ' I come from nowhere, and you should go there, just try it for a while. Cos the people from nowhere always smile'.
I have a weakness for nowhere places, as does Nina - we're from there, and for us they are truly somewhere.
Recently posted on the beguiling YouTube site are two archive films featuring our beloved Maryport, one of the 'nowhere' towns featured in our first film ''Bata-ville'. Apparently it was made in 1979 by Thames TV and according to the site its 170 minutes long, which makes me think it must have been a series....
Making the film (just a few years ago but still pre-YouTube!) we were stumped for good archive of the former Bata shoe factory on the outskirts of town and sourced this one aerial photo which appears in the film. It seems so odd now that noone we came into contact with mentioned this film (by - I think - Ray Gosling), assuming it was broadcast that is.
In the first instalment online the sense of a disappointed and downtrodden town which we experienced decades later is pervasive, a talking head even dates the ennui back to the times of Napoleon! Working now in nearby Egremont from time to time, I come into contact a lot with the "Why on earth would you want to do something up here?' line from locals, which funnily enough was the case in West Cumbria in the 70's - when in the film, the presenter comments on the number of locals who have asked him why they're bothering to film Maryport!
I think this might be a clue to why the film was never mentioned to us during our research - the local mindset is so fixed in its belief that noone's interested that the film has been edited out of the collective consciousness - because it refutes that.
As new bits go online I hope to catch a frame or two of the old Bata factory, the shop, or even some of our Bata bus passengers, though if I do I will be just a little sad we didn't source this in time for our film....

You can look at the films here and type in 'Maryport Archive'...