This amusingly shocking film, made by A C Barnden, shows how bad cycling practice and inattention to other traffic leads to disaster. First, we're asked to spot the mistakes made by children on bicycles. They make many on their way to school but arrive unscathed. Then, as we repeat the journey, the children’s careless mistakes end in gruesome accidents. Finally, we see the children cycling properly and displaying good road sense – and they all arrive at school safe and sound.
Mr A. C. Barnden, the headmaster of London Road School, Burgess Hill, made several films for the school in the late 1940s and 1950s. He was clearly concerned about the safety of his pupils on the busy roads around Burgess Hill, and, as this film shows, adopted a very direct and shocking way of getting his message across. His other films, intended for use in the classroom, demonstrate a keen interest in capturing aspects of rural life and industry in the locale. Barnden also recorded other school activities such as sports days, school trips and, inevitably, school plays. In 1954 Barnden became headmaster of Oakmeed School and today has a building named after him. London Road School was demolished in May 1989.
Screen Archive South East is a public sector moving image archive serving the South East of England. The archive's collections of magic lantern slides, films, videos and associated materials capture the many varied aspects of life, work and creativity from the early days of screen history to the present day and serve as a rich and invaluable historical resource.