Cartledge explores importance of community spirit

Ed Cartledge whose short film, Closure, about Una McBride's fight to save her local pub, is at Sheffield Doc/Fest
Ed Cartledge whose short film, Closure, about Una McBride's fight to save her local pub, is at Sheffield Doc/Fest

Sheffield film-maker Ed Cartledge’s short film, Closure, follows a woman’s campaign to save a pub which was once a vibrant community hub in her home town.

Cartledge says that the idea of making a film about pub closures was prompted by two simultaneous occurrences back in 2010.

Firstly, a couple of pubs in Sheffield he frequented closed or changed - the Stock Room near the Leadmill and The Grapes in Trippet Lane ceasing to be a music venue, both caused by impossible demands made on the publicans by the breweries..

At the same time the Mental Health Foundation published a report called The Lonely Society which said that research showed that over the last 30 years, Britain has become a more lonely place to live.

Rather than making an investigative documentary he decided to try to find a human story which illustrated the point - “the kind of filmmaking I know best,” says the film-maker who specialises in character-led and formally experimental documentaries.

His researches unearthed Una McBride who had launched a campaign to save her local pub, The Becconsall in Hesketh Bank, near Preston, which had also been her childhood home.

“Her parents ran it until 1987 but she herself moved away and now she had returned from London to care for her ageing mother and the campaign was as much about preserving her memories and her community,” says the film-maker. “She said she felt the deterioration of the building and her mum was going hand in hand.”

But, he insists, it’s not a sad film even though Una’s mother passes away and the bulldozers eventually moved in.

“Una is very upbeat person who’s gregarious and meets life head-on,” says Cartledge.

Cartledge says he has set himself the aim of showing the film at 10 festivals around the world and will then make it available on-line.

In the last 10 years he has produced, directed, shot and edited hundreds of films, mostly for charities and the University of Sheffield, as well as working as a camera operator, editor, screenwriter, musician and project manager for several small festivals and other media organisations.

“A film like this I do for myself, something I felt needed to be done,” he says.