The Old School Yard

Little angels and little devils: Edwardian children line up for the camera.

Little angels and little devils: Edwardian children line up for the camera. image

As Mitchell and Kenyon knew well, children can be relied on to brighten a scene. And if those children might not pay up to sixpence to see themselves on the screen, their proud parents surely would.

These films of more-or-less formal school parades present a more regimented Edwardian childhood than the one which so often bursts into M&K's other films. Characteristically, the cameramen cram the films with fresh faces, though the watchful teachers keep any high-jinx to a minimum.

These films capture a transitional moment in British education, with classroom provision extended in 1902's Education Act. They give glimpses of different educational models: local authority or church-run (Anglican or Catholic), disciplined or (relatively) informal.

Viewing these films in the light of history, It's hard not to be reminded that much of this new generation, so full of life and hope, was destined for the trenches of World War I.



Digitisation of this collection was funded by The National Lottery.

Members of the younger generation present may frequently be heard to raise up their voices with joy at discovering some friend or acquaintance. Southport Guardian, 3 September 1902

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