End to steelworker's 50-year working life features in vintage BBC documentary

A Sheffield steelworker’s retirement is featured in a clip that has been released by the BBC from a 1974 documentary.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 7:00 am

All in a Day: The City was a documentary that followed ordinary people around Sheffield on September 5, 1973. It was part of an All in a Day series.

Harold Dransfield’s last day at work is shown after working for 50 years in Dunford Hadfields Steel in the programme, which was first broadcast on April 4, 1974. The clip has just been released from a BBC archives collection showing Yorkshire life.

Harold is seen on the shopfloor, surrounded by his workmates, with a colleague saying: “It gives me great pleasure, Harold, to present to you on behalf of your colleagues in the plate shop with this wristlet watch as a token of their esteem on your retirement today after 50 years of faithful service and comradeship.

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The Dunford Hadfields plate shop at work, shown in the 1974 BBC documentary All in a Day: The City

“I would also like to wish you and your wife many long years of happy and long-earned retirement and from me personally my thanks for your loyalty for the years we’ve worked together.”

Clearly touched, Harold replies: “I’m lost for words.. thank you and I want to thank you all in no 8 plate shop, managers, staff and work people and all others that’s made this presentation to me with this watch and I think… I’m lost for words.

“I very much appreciate it and I thank you all very much.”

Harold Dransfield, centre, at his retirement presentation, made by the man in the red hard hat

His workmates break into a chorus of happy birthday as the two-minute clip ends.

The film, which was shown on BBC 4 in 2009, follows people around the city in a day, including a mum giving birth, a couple getting married, men watching a go-go dancer in the Black Swan, a bobby on the beat, mourners at a funeral, councillors debating, choirboys practising and a department store model.

Harold is seen throughout the film, getting ready for work and travelling in on the bus, receiving a canteen of cutlery in the boardroom, walking out of the East Hecla Works for the last time and arriving home to show off his gifts to his wife.

The Star gets a look-in, featuring a news conference, discussions over a picture of a bread lorry that has crashed into a house, the presses rolling at York Street and the paper for sale.

The scene at Harold Dransfield's retirement presentation