This film is part of Free

Meet the Chichester Boys' Club

Not a hoodie in sight as the male youth of Chichester goes clubbing – shove ha'penny style

Amateur film 1937 12 mins Silent


Undo your top button and loosen your tie – we're heading down the youth club. The 1930s version offers a mix of activities familiar in today's incarnation, along with some differences. Darts and table tennis are still ubiquitous, but shove ha'penny deserves a comeback. The single-sex membership and the (in today’s eyes) formal clothing are the most obvious changes, but the value of such safe, communal societies for teens speaks across the years.

The film is amateur but very skilfully put together with many indoor scenes - unusual in such works because of insufficient natural light for the film stocks used at the time. Founded in 1922 (or 1921, reports differ), the Chichester Boys Club benefitted greatly from having its own premises in Little London from 1923 onwards. It was part of a growing network of such groups linked by the National Association of Boys' Clubs (NABC) founded in 1925 (now known as Ambition).