On Saturday 26 June 1948, the wedding of Robert Lawson and Mary Elsie Beeby takes place at St John’s Church in Hebburn on South Tyneside. The groom’s musician brother crafts a sophisticated wedding scrapbook for the happy post-war lovers, from the elegant modelling of the future bride’s trousseau to the shared romantic moments with cigarettes as man and (perfectly groomed) wife.
The filmmaker Thomas Lawson was a cinema pianist in Derby from the late 1920s, and later worked as a dance hall and concert musician on Tyneside. From an early age, he was a keen cine enthusiast, beautifully illustrated by the two wedding films he produced in the 40s. His brother’s wedding features staged sequences, elaborate dissolves and a circular narrative that emphasises the continuing tradition of marriage, despite the post-war generation’s new aspirations. The focus on fashion is a particular joy in this film, the bride favouring skirt suits and dress prints reminiscent of the “sharp, cold and bold” wartime CC41 Utility clothing designed by Norman Hartnell, Hardy Amies and other fashion experts.