This film is part of Free

Adventures of Tom, Dick and Harry

School children learn that mistakes made when cycling to school aren't always forgiven - in this instructional film made by their headmaster

School programme and Educational film 1953 6 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This amusingly shocking film, made by A C Barnden, shows how bad cycling practice and inattention to other traffic leads to disaster. First, we're asked to spot the mistakes made by children on bicycles. They make many on their way to school but arrive unscathed. Then, as we repeat the journey, the children’s careless mistakes end in gruesome accidents. Finally, we see the children cycling properly and displaying good road sense – and they all arrive at school safe and sound.

Mr A. C. Barnden, the headmaster of London Road School, Burgess Hill, made several films for the school in the late 1940s and 1950s. He was clearly concerned about the safety of his pupils on the busy roads around Burgess Hill, and, as this film shows, adopted a very direct and shocking way of getting his message across. His other films, intended for use in the classroom, demonstrate a keen interest in capturing aspects of rural life and industry in the locale. Barnden also recorded other school activities such as sports days, school trips and, inevitably, school plays. In 1954 Barnden became headmaster of Oakmeed School and today has a building named after him. London Road School was demolished in May 1989.