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Home Movies & Amateur Film

Celluloid scrapbooks: the most intimate and personal of films invite us into Britain's birthday parties, back gardens and beach holidays.

Home movies are intimate catalogues of everyday life: birthdays and holidays, childhoods and neighbourhoods. Each reel is a private scrapbook - memories of cherished people, places and times committed to film. Rarely shared outside the family, home movies are the most intensely personal kind of filmmaking. They are by us, of us, for us. Victorian inventors put filmmaking gear in the hands of wealthy amateurs, but decade by decade, home moviemaking technology has become ever cheaper, simpler and more ubiquitous. Our home movies look much as they always have: in and out of focus, thumbs over the lens, wobbly framing, over-enthusiastic pans. But these flaws can't diminish their warm authenticity. Collectively, the nation's home movies make up a patchwork archive of British social life, of whims and ways, loves loved and lives lived.

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Ibberson Family and VE Day
Ibberson Family and VE Day
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Ibberson Family and VE Day

Home movie194517 minsSilent Location: Sheffield

Whether it’s the height of the war or its aftermath makes no difference to these children enjoying themselves: at the seaside, on V E Day and around the bomb sites of Sheffield.

Flying a Kite
Flying a Kite
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Flying a Kite

Home movie19031 minsSilent Location: Streatham

In the year the Wright Brothers made their first flight, an Edwardian family film themselves taking to the skies… sort of.

Visit to Germany
Visit to Germany
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Visit to Germany

Home movie193628 minsSilent

Lloyd George tours the sights of Nazi Germany while his chauffeurs lark about with an SS Officer in this grimly fascinating film.

Amy Johnson Family Films
Amy Johnson Family Films
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Amy Johnson Family Films

Amateur film193214 minsSilent Location: Bridlington

A rare insight into the public and private lives of the pioneering aviator, filmed by her father.

Ut Proficias
Ut Proficias
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Ut Proficias

195316 minsSilent

A day in the life of a school - filmed by a pupil who later became one of Britain's best documentary makers.

Problems End
Problems End
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Problems End

Animation & Artists Moving Image19643 mins

Petty party politics gets animated - literally - in this amateur cartoon with a message.

Children's Excursion 1952
Children's Excursion 1952
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Children's Excursion 1952

Amateur film195211 minsSilent Location: Biggar

Classic 1950s buses take the children of Moniaive for an adventure in Edinburgh, in this wonderful amateur film complete with fizzy pop, elephants and steam trains.

Mrs Newlywed's First Dinner
Mrs Newlywed's First Dinner
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Mrs Newlywed's First Dinner

Amateur film19498 minsSilent

There are culinary catastrophes galore when Mrs Newlywed attempts to cook the couple's first meal in their austerity kitchen.

This England - London: City and Covent Garden
This England - London: City and Covent Garden
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This England - London: City and Covent Garden

Amateur film193415 mins Location: Holborn

A man with a dozen baskets on his head and Big Ben shrouded in scaffolding feature in this amateur movie exploring various London sites in 1934.

Helping Jessie in the garden
Helping Jessie in the garden
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Helping Jessie in the garden

Amateur film19686 minsSilent

Two Teddy Bears look on happily, as before their glassy eyes a normal suburban family falls victim to some very abnormal goings on in their back garden.

This England - Cornwall: Helston Furry Dance and Villages
This England - Cornwall: Helston Furry Dance and Villages
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This England - Cornwall: Helston Furry Dance and Villages

Amateur film19346 minsSilent Location: Helston

The town of Helston comes out dancing in this charming amateur film of a unique springtime custom.

Aldermaston
Aldermaston
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Aldermaston

Amateur film196225 minsSilent Location: Aldermaston

A fascinating record of the 1962 Aldermaston March featuring Canon John Collins, Michael Foot and thousands of marchers of all ages.

Children on Camera - A Primer about Movies
Children on Camera - A Primer about Movies
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Children on Camera - A Primer about Movies

Amateur film196912 mins

Minimalist movie making at its best: kids learn the art of film language using illustrations and margarine boxes.

Using the Camera
Using the Camera
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Using the Camera

Training film/TV programme196317 mins

All the practical dos and don'ts for the amateur film enthusiast, courtesy of Kodak.

Amateur Talkies
Amateur Talkies
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Amateur Talkies

Home movie195612 mins

Prolific home movie maker Sid Douglas shares his secrets for the ambitious amateur.

V.E. Day May 8th & 9th 1945 – Thanksgiving Day May 14th 1945
V.E. Day May 8th & 9th 1945 – Thanksgiving Day May 14th 1945
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V.E. Day May 8th & 9th 1945 – Thanksgiving Day May 14th 1945

Amateur film194510 minsSilent Location: Gateshead

You can almost hear the cheers in this gorgeous silent film of VE day celebrations on the red, white and blue decked streets of Gateshead

Evacuees and ARP Training exercises
Evacuees and ARP Training exercises
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Evacuees and ARP Training exercises

Amateur film193920 minsSilent Location: Herne Bay

Members of Herne Bay's First Aid Posts gear up for gas-attack casualties in this remarkable film, which also features a visit to the deep tunnel shelters in the cliffs of Ramsgate.

Heronsdale Manor Harvest
Heronsdale Manor Harvest
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Heronsdale Manor Harvest

Amateur film19423 minsSilent Location: Waldron

The war seems far away in this pastoral film but suddenly there's a reminder when a flight of Hurricanes pass overhead. Then it's back to the work of feeding the nation.

Bombed Out
Bombed Out
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Bombed Out

Amateur film19459 minsSilent Location: Southwark

Step into the aftermath of a WWII bombing raid in south London in this startling amateur film.

Summer holiday 1939
Summer holiday 1939
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Summer holiday 1939

Amateur film19396 minsSilent Location: Porthcothan Bay

It was business as usual as the university came down for the summer break and Cambridge don Trevor Spittle and his family headed to their new holiday home at Portcothan, Cornwall.

Solihull in Wartime
Solihull in Wartime
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Solihull in Wartime

Amateur film194323 minsSilent Location: Solihull

Preparation and readiness is the order of the day as the different branches of the home front services in Solihull do their bit in the fight for the future of the nation.

Among the Tribes in South-West China
Among the Tribes in South-West China
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Among the Tribes in South-West China

Documentary194837 minsSilent

This alluring travelogue follows a missionary on his colourful journey into the ethnically diverse mountains of Yunnan, south west China.

Coronation Day - Hong Kong 12 May 1937
Coronation Day - Hong Kong 12 May 1937
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Coronation Day - Hong Kong 12 May 1937

Amateur film193818 minsSilent

Crowds pack the streets of Hong Kong for a stunning procession of dragon dancers, drummers and stilt walkers in celebration of George VI's crowning.

Hangzhou and a Trip to the Baochu Pagoda
Hangzhou and a Trip to the Baochu Pagoda
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Hangzhou and a Trip to the Baochu Pagoda

Amateur film19304 minsSilent Location: Hangzhou

The remarkable Baochu pagoda dominates this film about a visit to the West Lake at Hangzhou.

Salmon Fishing in Skye
Salmon Fishing in Skye
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Salmon Fishing in Skye

Amateur film19388 minsSilent Location: Isle of Skye

Hardy salmon fishermen on the scenic shores of Skye work their nets in pursuit of a plentiful silver paycheck in this award winning early colour educational film from 1938.

They Are Forsaken: A Tale of an Island of the Hebrides
They Are Forsaken: A Tale of an Island of the Hebrides
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They Are Forsaken: A Tale of an Island of the Hebrides

Travelogue193820 minsSilent Location: Harris/Na Hearadh

A starkly beautiful portrait of crofting life in Flodabay on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.

Cine Snapshots - 1938
Cine Snapshots - 1938
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Cine Snapshots - 1938

Amateur film19379 minsSilent Location: Hong Kong

Beautiful and engaging amateur footage of a lively 1930s Hong Kong.

Peddlers' Progress
Peddlers' Progress
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Peddlers' Progress

Amateur film194925 minsSilent Location: Ben Nevis

Join four clean-cut intrepid youngsters on an awfully big 1940s adventure as they sing and cycle their way around the youth hostels of scenic Scotland in glorious colour. Tally ho!

MCC Tour of South Africa - Allom Home Movie No. 1
MCC Tour of South Africa - Allom Home Movie No. 1
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MCC Tour of South Africa - Allom Home Movie No. 1

Amateur film19309 minsSilent

Charming amateur film of the 1930-31 Marylebone Cricket Club team relaxing while on tour in South Africa.

Governor's Notebook 1
Governor's Notebook 1
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Governor's Notebook 1

Amateur film19532 minsSilent Location: Stormont

An unforgettable day for Lady Wakehurst as the glamorous new monarch delights the crowds at Stormont

Explore further

Pioneers of Personal Film
Pioneers of Personal Film
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Pioneers of Personal Film

At the dawn of the cinema age, these trailblazing early adopters brought filmmaking technology into the home.

Ordinary and Extraordinary Lives
Ordinary and Extraordinary Lives
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Ordinary and Extraordinary Lives

Home movies give us unique permission to step inside the lives of people who we've never met and never will.

Amateur Auteurs
Amateur Auteurs
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Amateur Auteurs

Ever dreamed of shooting your own movie? These pre-digital cine-enthusiasts did - with all the passion and devotion of the true auteur.