This film is part of Free

Letchworth Festival

A May Queen pageant, Highland piping, and musical theatre. Letchworth's part in celebrating the 1951 Festival of Britain captured by the local Film Society.

Sponsored film 1951 31 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for East Anglian Film Archive


Letchworth, England’s first Garden City, hold a number of events in 1951 for the Festival of Britain. Norton School hold a May Queen Pageant with a procession and Maypole Dancing. The traditional and contemporary dancing continues from St. Francis College pupils – an Italian theatre Harlequin character takes to the stage, followed by a rather wonderful ballet performance, but that rather strangely features a pantomime cow!

Next, the boys perform, accompanied by bagpipers and dancing in full Highland dress – kilt, sporran, tartan knee socks. At the Round Table Fair runs a miniature steam train, a rather nimble gymnastics display, and an equally fearless ‘push ball’ match. The Boy Scout’s efforts for the festival show their dedication and skill in both camping and sports. A football match, a boxing tournament, and sports days are all scheduled throughout the year by the Festival Committee. The final scenes show amateur theatre and French music hall productions, including making-up backstage. The musical contributions to the Festival may seem pointlessly captured in a silent film, however, the visuals speak for themselves.