This film is part of Free

Holidays, Jolly Days and Happy Ways

A Frenchman, writing in the 1600s, thought that the English took their pleasures “sadly”. Harold Cox, filming holidaymakers in Wales in 1939, is determined to prove him wrong.

Amateur film 1939 13 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


"The English take their pleasures sadly, after the fashion of their country." So wrote the Duc de Sully (1560-1641), a French statesman, in his memoirs and Harold Cox, the film-maker, wonders if this is so. The title he has given to his film - which shows seaside activities in the Barmouth area, a carnival, the launch of the new Barmouth life-boat and farm work - suggests he thinks otherwise.

Harold Cox ran a music business in Birmingham and was a regular visitor to Dyffryn Ardudwy where he and his brother had neighbouring bungalows built for themselves for holidaying in and, later, retirement. Harold was renowned locally for the distinctive woollen garments he wore that he produced on his knitting machine. The life-boat footage shows the launch by Lady Harlech of the new Barmouth life-boat - the 'Lawrence Ardern, Stockport' – on 8/8/1939. It was funded by a legacy from Mrs. M.A. Ardern, of Prestbury, Cheshire. A month after the launch, war broke out and during its duration the life-boat was launched on service 30 times, mainly attending aircraft that had crashed in to the sea.