This film is part of Free

Joan's Birthday Party

It's party time in Bournemouth in the pioneering decade that set the standard for change

Non-Fiction 1929 3 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


The 1920s is an important decade for film and for political, cultural and societal change. This film illustrates style and fashion with bob haircuts, the Mary Jane ankle strap button shoe, loose clothing and the dropped waistline of the shift or chemise dress. What is charming is a child staring down the lens of a moving image camera and early examples of photobombing. So while women's hemlines were rising towards their pearls, the next generation was making its mark.

Joan's father and grandfather had a keen interest in amateur filmmaking and opened the first camera shop in Bournemouth. These are part of Joan's home movie collection and capture the party at a time when the 16mm film format was commercialised in the 1920s. 16mm safety film was introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1923 and became a standard in the non-professional market. A year prior to this, Pathé Frères introduced 9.5mm film with its single central sprocket and these also form part of Joan's home movie collection. By 1932 8mm had been introduced and was to become the true home movie format before the introduction of the video home system (VHS) and digital formats.