This film is part of Free

Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Sports Day and Outings 1936

From donkey rides to sports day: a year in the life of the hearing impaired of Derby.

Amateur film 1936 10 mins Silent Not rated


From the collection of:

Logo for Media Archive for Central England


This record of events at the Royal School for the Deaf in Derby during 1936 focuses on special events rather than showing teaching methods. The school's interest in the physical well-being of its students through the annual sports day is evident but the highlight is a trip by train to 'bracing' Skegness. The children joke to the camera en route to the seaside and are clearly delighted by the beach with its donkey rides and splash pools.

The film was produced before the widespread teaching of sign language and is one of several similar films that cover sports days and outings at the school from the 1930s to the 1960s. At the time hearing impaired children were encouraged to speak and not sign and former pupils have talked about the somewhat harsh treatment dealt out to children who found this difficult. A school for the deaf was founded on Friargate in Derby in 1893 by Dr William Roe, receiving its royal status during the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. The school moved to a new site nearby on Ashbourne Road in 1972. Headmaster at the time of this film was William Roe's son, William Carey Roe.