This film is part of Free

Leeds Children's Day

With an amazing display of fancy dress, dancing and gymnastics from the children of Leeds, this was the most spectacular celebration of 1950s childhood in the country.

Amateur film 1955 8 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Everything is impressive about Leeds Children’s Day in Roundhay Park, here filmed in 1955 in wonderful kodachrome colour. From the immaculate costumes of the Queen and her escort, the meticulously decorated floats, the high calibre gymnastics displays, the often comical dangerous driving demonstrations, the children’s mass country and maypole dancing, through to the stately looking teachers as they proudly, but attentively, look on.

The annual Children’s Day in Leeds started in 1922, and became a huge event in the Leeds calendar, fondly remembered by thousands of Leeds citizens. The festival started with the procession and crowning of the Queen of Children’s Day and included schools right across Leeds collaborating in various exceptionally well-drilled performances, to the delight of an audience of up to 100,000. It was filmed by members of Leeds Cine Club on several occasions, this time by Jack Eley. Ending in 1963, the festival reflected the emphasis on physical education of the time, with the children displaying a high level of athleticism that might challenge many of today’s generation.