This film is part of Free

Pond Life

All looks peaceful on the surface of this pond - but the depths below contain some fearsome creatures - though you need a microscope to see them

Amateur film 1935 6 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This unusual and fascinating amateur film from the 1930s features microscopic images of a village pond's tiniest inhabitants - using techniques which, while familiar today, are remarkable for the time. In this hidden world we see planiarian worms and daphnia, a common water-flea, which is food for creatures like the hungry mayfly larva which follows. Last of all is the remarkable hydra, waving its sinister stinging tentacles about, waiting for that unwary passer-by.

Frank Perrin Barnitt was a solicitor in Tunbridge Wells with a keen interest in film and photography. With the help of Mr Newbury's microscope, Barnitt was able to capture some remarkable images of an hitherto unseen world - as this film reveals. The degree of sophistication and expertise, as shown by the results seen here, are all the more impressive given that he was simply pursuing his hobby. Another of Barnitt's films called 'At the Zoo - London', was donated to the Library of the Zoological Society in London.