This film is part of Free

Do you remember?

Cowboys, Carnivals and Mayors on the slide appear alongside the most beserk and hilarious donkey race you'll ever see in Sussex

Amateur film 1950 18 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This hilarious compilation begins with the Dinnage family and their Irish donkeys followed by a bizarre gymkhana. There's a parade in the arena followed by children playing games on donkey-back. An extraordinary donkey race follows with children and adults joining the racers round the circuit. Next we see a new playground slide being officially inaugurated by the Lord Mayor - who takes the first slide and the film ends with some stunt riding by celebrity cowboy Buck Ryan.

A. J. Birch, who was possibly a founder member of the Haywards Heath Cine & Video Society, made this charming compilation in the early to mid-1950s. In this film, as well as numerous donkey escapades, he captured the very early years of the Beech Hurst Miniature Railway, which began operating soon after Easter Saturday 1954.