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Physical Drill: Indian Clubs

Sailors do fashionable exercises at Portsmouth

Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins Silent


Like a Victorian Zumba, 'Indian Club' exercises were exceptionally popular at the turn of the 20th century. Here naval cadets perform the exercises in perfect unison. They are on Whale Island in Portsmouth, within sight of the many troopships leaving for South Africa and the Boer War.

This is one of 13 naval films issued by Cecil Hepworth in 1900, and it's not clear whether it's catering to audiences' desire for patriotic scenes or tapping in on the Indian Clubs craze. Knowing Hepworth - who predicted the end of the cinematographic craze until he realised he could make a fortune out of it - it's a bit of both.