THE harsh winters – and Christmases – endured by people living in remote communities high up on the North Nork Moors in years gone by are brought to vivid life in a new short documentary film available to view on YouTube until December 31.

The film – A Moorland Christmas, by York-based documentary maker Anne Dodsworth – is based on dramatic winter photos taken by John Tindale, a photographer with the Whitby Gazette from just after the war until the late 1980s.

These are combined with audio footage of some of the characters that John met that he recorded himself, and with moving imagery from the Yorkshire film Archive.

John’s son David, a businessman now based in York, said his dad had had a ‘fabulous beat’ as a news photographer based in Whitby.

As a news photographer it wasn’t just the extraordinary landscapes of moors and coast that interested him, David said – it was the people.

“He had all the fishermen, and all the farmers – so many characters,” David said. “And whenever he was out taking a photograph, if he came across anybody particularly interesting, he would get his apparatus and go back to make recordings.”

It is those authentic Yorkshire voices you can hear in A Moorland Christmas.

One farmer recalls the snows of the winter of 1947. “The snow was right up to the top of the hedges,’ he says. “You couldn’t see the hedges for the ice and snow.”

Another farmer recalls the sheep lost in some of those winters. “Bye, there was skeletons galore of sheep”, he says.

John can be heard asking one woman if there had been more White Christmases back in the day. “Far more!” she replies.

John, who died in 2001 aged 80, would have been 100 years old this year.

The Tindale collection, made up of thousands of his images along with his audio-recordings of the people of Whitby and the moors, is now held by the Whitby Museum

To mark the centenary of his dad’s birth, David Tindale commissioned Anne Dodsworth and her company Blow Your Trumpet Films to make a series of three short documentary films.

Based on John’s photos and audio-tapes, they have been showing at the Whitby Museum this year. They provide an unforgettable glimpse of the lives of the people of the Yorkshire coast and moors more than half a century ago.

But the Whitby Museum is now closed for winter renovations until February. So as a ‘gesture of Christmas goodwill to the people of Whitby and to all those who love this unique part of the world’ it has made the third and final film, ‘A Moorland Christmas’, available on YouTube until December 31.

To see the film, search for A Moorland Christmas at