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Keep Fit

Let’s get physical! With over a century of exercise on film, this collection offers some high intensity viewing.

Victorians might not have known how to Zumba, but few generations have been without a fitness craze. Since its earliest days film has been used to champion a variety of physical pursuits, from calisthenics and cycling to haggis hurling.

Whether it's the spectacle of the form in motion, the pursuit of healthy body and mind, or an excuse to let it all hang out, this collection is testament to the fact that when it comes to exercise it’s not about winning, it’s the taking part that counts.

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4 and 20 Fit Girls4 and 20 Fit Girls

194011 minsSilent

Flock to your local keep fit class - there's a war on and Britain needs its citizens in tip-top shape.

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Stoke Mandeville Sports Stadium for the DisabledStoke Mandeville Sports Stadium for the Disabled

Amateur film196719 minsSilent Location: Stoke Mandeville

Rare home movie capturing sporting action in 1967 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, birthplace of the Paralympics.

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Woman WheelersWoman Wheelers

Non-Fiction19291 minsSilent Location: Herne Hill

Women cyclists go for gold! Singer Gracie Fields presents the grand prize at South London's premier women's cycling event.

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Long Distance RunnerLong Distance Runner

News19744 mins Location: Woodsetton

They breed them hard in Dudley - running non-stop for 24 hours is nothing to Ron Bentley: his next challenge is to race over 800 miles.

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National and Country DancingNational and Country Dancing

School programme and Educational film195214 mins Location: Leigh-on-Sea

Want to learn to dance the Swedish Masquerade, Dutch Hakke Toone, or maybe the Italian Tarantella? Essex schoolchildren show us how it’s done.

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Haggis HurlingHaggis Hurling

News19806 mins Location: Belfast

Meet the president leading the haggis hurling revival and learn how delivering lunch became a sport for kilted gentlemen.

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Cycling the ChannelCycling the Channel

Non-Fiction19291 minsSilent Location: Dover

A Fine Feat of Endurance. Why swim the Channel when you can go by hydrocycle?

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Tug of WarTug of War

News19755 mins Location: Leicester

Their training regime includes lifting a lump of concrete into a tree - meet the Leicester tug-of-war team preparing to take on the world.

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Hints and Hobbies No.12Hints and Hobbies No.12

Magazine and Review show192612 minsSilent

Who needs an iron when you have a jam jar to hand? The Hints and Hobbies team return for the last surviving edition of the weekly cinemagazine.

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Women and LeisureWomen and Leisure

Current affairs198811 mins Location: Leeds

This film sees Sheffield Council reform and modernise their approach to female leisure activities for their diverse and busy community.

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Lyons Ice CreamLyons Ice Cream

Advert19381 minsSilent

From out of the vaults comes this pre-WWII cinema advert for ice-cream.

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Mabolgampau Yr Urdd Abertawe, 1933Mabolgampau Yr Urdd Abertawe, 1933

Amateur film193311 minsSilent Location: Swansea/Abertawe

The Vetch Field stadium in Swansea is occupied by Urdd Gobaith Cymru – The Welsh League of Hope – for 2 days of mass gymnastics in June 1933.

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Calisthenics (c.1905)Calisthenics (c.1905)

Non-Fiction19007 minsSilent

A truly impressive exhibition of calisthenics from two teams of girls - perhaps an early talent contest?

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Day School Sports at Park Avenue in Bradford (1902)Day School Sports at Park Avenue in Bradford (1902)

Non-Fiction190213 minsSilent Location: Bradford

Barrels of laughs and sackfuls of fun at a school sports event in Edwardian West Yorkshire.

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Fun On A WeekendFun On A Weekend

Amateur film196311 minsSilent Location: Great Yarmouth

Pedal power wins, whatever the weather, as cycle-mad teenagers put the miles in for a pre-Christmas weekend of festive fun by the sea.

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Sports dans l'armée des IndesSports dans l'armée des Indes

Interest film19105 minsSilent

A demonstration of sport and fitness by members of the Indian Army

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What and What NotWhat and What Not

Amateur film193012 minsSilent Location: Tangmere

Join the crowds dazzled by keep-fit frolics, a record breaking air race, a speed boat celebrity and joy-riding at an air circus in this 1931 film from the Bognor Regis Film Society.

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Off for a rambleOff for a ramble

Promotional195111 minsSilent Location: Little Chalfont

Joining the Countrywide Holiday Association after the war to keep fit brought Jo Peters another reward - a wife!

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Third Age Holiday Exercise ClassThird Age Holiday Exercise Class

News19631 minsSilent Location: Marldon

English Riviera resort offers full accessibility for wheelchair users.

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Health Education Council 'walkies'Health Education Council 'walkies'

Advert19771 mins

Is your husband a layabout? Then attach him to a leash and take him for a walk round the park.

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Pedal CyclistsPedal Cyclists

Public Information Filler19472 mins

A witty, eccentric guide to safety on two wheels under the watchful eye of a pedalling angel.

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Running FilmRunning Film

Animation & Artists Moving Image19734 mins

A London park and artist Welsby runs repeatedly into frame and off into the distance.

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Cambridge University Sportsday (1903)Cambridge University Sportsday (1903)

Non-Fiction19033 minsSilent Location: Cambridge

Cambridge undergrads reach new heights!

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Physical DrillPhysical Drill

Non-Fiction19001 mins

Victorian seadogs fighting fit

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Butlins Keep Fit and ExerciseButlins Keep Fit and Exercise

Amateur film19462 minsSilent Location: Clacton-On-Sea

With war over, Butlin's was back in business. Happy campers were keen for a taste of fresh air and exercise - with all ages, shapes and sizes limbering up and letting their hair down!

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Children Running on BeachChildren Running on Beach

Home movie19020 minsSilent Location: Sandown

Seaside larks aplenty in this very early home movie by pioneer amateur filmmaker Alfred Passmore

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Physical Drill: Indian ClubsPhysical Drill: Indian Clubs

Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent Location: Whale Island

Sailors do fashionable exercises at Portsmouth

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Secondary School Gymnastics: Leyton County High School for BoysSecondary School Gymnastics: Leyton County High School for Boys

Sport193611 minsSilent Location: Leyton

London schoolboys demonstrate impressive range of gymnastic moves for the cameras.

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Audley Range School, Blackburn (c.1905)Audley Range School, Blackburn (c.1905)

Non-Fiction19051 minsSilent Location: Blackburn

Lancashire children perform physical education exercises in (almost) perfect unison.

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Aysgarth School SportsAysgarth School Sports

Non-Fiction195315 minsSilent Location: Aysgarth School

Ancient Greek states battle it out in shorts on the playing fields of Aysgarth

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In Welsh Hills - a record of pleasant hours among the mountains of SnowdoniaIn Welsh Hills - a record of pleasant hours among the mountains of Snowdonia

Amateur film195015 minsSilent Location: Nant Ffrancon

A film highly commended in 1950 by the National Eisteddfod in Caerffili, the Scottish Amateur Film Festival, and Amateur Cine World magazine.

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Aberystwyth County School Gymnastic DisplayAberystwyth County School Gymnastic Display

Non-Fiction19246 minsSilent Location: Aberystwyth

Exercises to stimulate the healthy development of the growing child: vaulting, somersaulting, hurdling, jumping, leap-frogging, dancing – and violin playing.

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Action in Slow MotionAction in Slow Motion

19433 minsSilent

A naked woman cavorts innocently at the seaside in this 1940s nudist film, strictly for artists and students only

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A Squad of Gymnasts on Parallel bar ExercisesA Squad of Gymnasts on Parallel bar Exercises

19001 minsSilent

A companion to Highlanders Drilling, the two films attest to the sheer athleticism of the regiment.