This film is part of Free
The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds (1940s-style) at a nursery in Guildford.
Documentary 1943 33 mins
This wartime documentary is really rather special - think of a 1940s precursor to Channel 4's The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds. Filmed at a Guildford nursery school, it portrays a typical day for infants in nursery daycare. In 1943, a small crew spending hours in the company of children with a bulky, whirring 35mm film camera faced a far more daunting task than a production team filming kids today using fixed-rig digital cameras. The results are almost endlessly fascinating.
The film was produced within the Rank empire (note the opening gong), reflecting J Arthur Rank's Christian philanthropic interests: the religious film organisation he supported paid for the film as a piece of 'free' sponsorship on behalf of the Nursery Schools Association. Director Mary Field was one of Britain's most successful female filmmakers, an experienced maker of natural history and schools films who later headed the Children's Film Foundation. Field's background as an educationalist put her in good stead for this project. The 'double thread' of the title is the complementary influence of parenting and daycare. Book-end scenes representing home life seem to have been staged in a studio, making the bulk of the film, shot on location in a more observational style, all the more impressive. Naturally it's a dated and idealised vision of childhood, playing out in an impossibly orderly environment (this is leafy Surrey after all...) beneath a slightly stiff narration. But it still feels broadly humane and progressive over seventy years later.
The Home Front
West Sussex Home Guard 1
Instructional film/TV programme 1941 4 mins Silent Location: West Sussex
There's a wrong way and a right way to deal with Nazi spies and fifth-columnists - as you'll see in this this hilarious colour film starring the Home Guard and various Nazi rotters.
Amateur film 1945 11 mins Silent Location: Whitchurch
The war is over at last and Victory in Europe Day is celebrated on 8/5/1945 at the Iles home in Heathwood Road, Cardiff, and with parties in Heathway and Albert Street.
Victory Day Scenes
Amateur film 1945 14 mins Silent Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
It’s all over, for Britain at least – the dreaded telegrams, the bombings, the blackouts - and Cardiffians celebrate the end of the war with tea and cake, fancy dress and bonfires.
V.E. Celebrations at Newport May 1945
Amateur film 1945 9 mins Silent Location: Newport/Casnewydd
Beautifully presented production from The Newport and District Amateur Film Society which gives a real flavour of city celebrations on Victory in Europe Day (8th May 1945).
Documentary 1943 10 mins Location: London
Whilst some cultural treasures were stowed away in wartime, there was still an array of objects, artworks and experiences on offer to the public.
Peace returns to the garden
Amateur film 1945 5 mins Silent Location: West Wickham
The War might be over but there's work to be done in the Lauste family's garden. So their son, Leslie, now back from active duty, helps his mum with the apples and the hollyhocks.
Captain Birdseye in Guildford
Amateur film 1985 2 mins Location: Guildford
Join Captain Birdseye in Guildford as he appears at a fun run through the town - and guess what's showing at the Odeon
Aspects of Guildford
Amateur film 1983 9 mins Location: Guildford
Enjoy John Cant's sardonic visual essay about the historic town of Guildford - where dereliction is contrasted with richly historical vignettes and a pancake race
Your New Cathedral
Announcement 1939 5 mins Location: Guildford
There might be a war on but funds are still needed to complete Guildford's People's Cathedral - that's the message from the Provost in this fund-raising film from 1939
Documentary 1949 10 mins Silent Location: Barnes Common
A grand coach tour makes its way to Hampshire, Dorset and Devon, leaving London far behind
Amateur film 1965 5 mins Silent Location: Guildford
Classic car fans will love this amusing comedy featuring garages, showrooms, crazy sunglasses, serving hatches and a bizarre dream sequence
The National Fire Service in Woking and a Pump Relay competition in Guildford
Amateur film 1942 7 mins Silent Location: Woking
Men of the NFS demonstrate their fire fighting equipment skills before an audience in this splendid colour film from 1942. And the best crews get the best prizes.
Comedy 1919 35 mins Silent
A protective father masquerades as an automatic doll in this bonkers interwar comedy.
Spirit of Mayday
1937 11 mins Silent
May Day – a significant day for the labour movement – is covered by the cameras of the Film and Photograph League.
Cornelius Cardew 1936-1981
Performance 1986 55 mins
An exploration of the life and work of the controversial British composer.
1935 9 mins
Let it bleed? This exemplary education film gets to the heart of the matter.
U.A.B. (Workers Newsreel No.3)
Non-Fiction 1935 12 mins Silent
Punchy political film capturing mass protests against unemployment.
The Merry Month of May
1937 15 mins Silent
A spirited satire on the coronation of George VI made by members of the Film and Photograph League.