This film is part of Free

John's 5th Birthday

For those who have rarely had times as pleasant as those of riding around the garden on a trike, in the pre-school age of innocence.

Home movie 1955 11 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


A subject typical of many a home movie, a son’s birthday. And it’s a typical birthday party to go with it, with ice cream, cakes, biscuits and, of course, mother lighting the candles on the birthday cake. After the party the young friends chase each other around the beautifully kept garden in Sheffield in 1955. Finally, capturing that most auspicious of days, as young John heads off for his first day at school with his brand new satchel, preserved in Kodachrome by proud dad.

Kenneth Tofield was living at the time on Brooklands Crescent in the Fulwood area of Sheffield, where he had moved with his wife Joan in 1947. Kenneth worked for the Midland Bank in Sheffield and was a keen amateur filmmaker who made a number of similar films before and after the war. These were often of family and friends out in the snow and skating on ice, which he would show for local groups in his own film shows. As will be apparent from the film, he was also a keen gardener, winning the Brighter Sheffield competition five times for his gardens whilst still living at his parent’s house in the 1930s.