This film is part of Free

North, South and Neath

Neath plumber Vernon Hudson takes his family north to Caernarfon, south to Mumbles and Barry, and into the street when the circus comes to town.

Home movie 1954 5 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


High days and holidays: at the seaside, Vernon Hudson (1924-1969) practises the art of throwing stones with his two eldest children, and films the pair not firing the cannons at Caernarfon Castle. At Mumbles, with pier, lifeboat station and railway, a bat-and-ball game provdes amusement for adults relaxing in deckchairs; more adventurous fun is provided elsewhere, on the Barry Island Scenic Railway. And Neath welcomes Billy Smart’s Circus.

Two further children – daughters – were to become part of the Hudson family in due course but in 1954 there was just the pigeon pair, who may have had a ride on the Barry Island Scenic Railway which was opened in March 1940 and was always very popular. It was one of the largest wooden rollercoasters in Britain, being a mile long and including an exhilarating drop of 72 ft. The scenery was painted turquoise, at least initially, and remained intact until the ride was demolished in the 1970s. Billy Smart’s circus, which he opened in 1946 and ran right up until his death in 1966, parades through Neath and is followed by what appears to be a Sunday School or similar parade, the two Hudson children amongst those parading.