This film is part of Free

Red Cross Fair

The parasols and puppet shows are out in this joyful springtime gala for Bath's Red Cross hospitals

Non-Fiction 1917 10 mins Silent


The high exposure on this local newsreel helps give the impression that even as WWI raged, it was still sunny in Somerset. It's all leisurely, fairground fun at one Red Cross benefit event - yet people still seem aware that they're performing for the camera. The ceremony in which a new ambulance is presented has to be repeated after the man with the keys drops his hat and laughs.

One attendee holds a "please help" sign towards the camera, in an attempt to appeal to the viewer's charity. Over 90,000 people volunteered for the British Red Cross during WWI; their primary role being the treatment of the sick and wounded at home and overseas. Auxiliary hospitals were set up, of which Bath had a handful. Countess Mary Waldegrave, namechecked here, was the deputy president of the local branch.