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Johnny Wardle Home Movies - England Cricket Tour of South Africa 1956-57

Before the sporting boycott of the apartheid state, South Africa was a touring destination for the English cricketer.

Amateur film 1956 18 mins Silent


In the mid-1950s there was nothing overly controversial about an England cricket tour of South Africa. England bowler Johnny Wardle's home movies reflect the mix of cricket (a test match at Newlands, Cape Town) and tourism which such an undertaking involved, without hinting at the deeply problematic nature of the society being visited. The "crossing the equator" ceremony on the outward voyage, which sadly includes a participant in blackface, gives an indication of prevailing attitudes.

Wardle's amateur films, preserved in the BFI National Archive, are invaluable records of cricket tours and their social context in the 1950s. Wardle himself was an England regular until 1958 and a member of the press corps thereafter.