The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

Springtime in an English Village
Springtime in an English Village

Springtime in an English Village 1944


This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.


Springtime in an English Village 1944

7 mins United Kingdom

This extraordinary and unexpected snapshot of rural life in wartime - unseen for years due to the fragility of the materials - documents most ancient of English traditions: the selection and crowning of the Queen of the May. But what is so surprising is that 60 years ago the village of Stanion in Northamptonshire chose to honour a young black girl - apparently the daughter of an African merchant seaman who had been evacuated there during the War.

It's hard to know quite how literally to take the proceedings. The film was made by the Colonial Film Unit for the purpose of screening throughout Britain's African and Caribbean colonies - to demonstrate 'typical' life in the UK - at a time when the government needed to recruit the support of men and women from across the Empire. Later, in the immediate post-War period, such films not only acted to reinforce imperial solidarity, but formed part of a propaganda campaign to attract cheap labour to the UK.


Documentary Government sponsored film


Before Windrush Black Lives




United Kingdom



Read lessRead more
Part of

1,000s of beautifully preserved films, capturing 120 years of Britain on Film

The map

Explore further

View Prettiest May Queen
Prettiest May Queen
Watch for free 1 mins

Prettiest May Queen 1926

Short film showing a parade featuring the new May Queen of London, anointed in an annual ceremony at Hayes Common.

1 mins United Kingdom

View London's May Queen at Hayes
London's May Queen at Hayes
Watch for free 1 mins

London's May Queen at Hayes 1928

A grand parade of gaily dressed children marches through Hayes on the way to crown the latest May Queen.

1 mins United Kingdom


View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts

Never ask | Ask me later