This film is part of Free


The grim message of this film for youngsters shows how a lack of road sense combined with faulty bicycle brakes results in more than broken bones

School programme and Educational film 1951 9 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


In this grim film, made by a school headmaster in Burgess Hill, we see pupils, including a boy with his arm in a sling, giving pennies to a teacher. In flashback, we see the boy tinkering with his bicycle's brakes before he pursues an ice-cream seller. Picking up a friend en route, the two boys collide with a car. We see pennies for ice-cream in the boy's hand. News from the hospital is not good. Back in the present, we see that the pupils’ pennies are actually for a funerary wreath.

Mr A. C. Barnden, the headmaster of London Road School, Burgess Hill, made several films for the school in the late 1940s and 1950s. He was clearly concerned about the safety of his pupils on the busy roads around Burgess Hill, and, as this film shows, adopted a very direct and shocking way of getting his message across. His other films, intended for use in the classroom, demonstrate a keen interest in capturing aspects of rural life and industry in the locale. Barnden also recorded other school activities such as sports days, school trips and, inevitably, school plays. In 1954 Barnden became headmaster of Oakmeed School and today has a building named after him. London Road School was demolished in May 1989.