This film is part of Free

Spirit of Mayday

May Day – a significant day for the labour movement – is covered by the cameras of the Film and Photograph League.

1937 11 mins Silent


In 1937 members of the Film and Photograph League lined the route of the May Day procession in London, armed with cameras and a few minutes of 9.5mm film stock each and instructed to film plenty of close-ups. There are some nifty shots of marching feet but otherwise they appear to have had mixed success in following this guidance. This May Day procession was organised by the Communist Party of Great Britain and other left-wing groups - in addition to the “official” demonstration organised by the Labour Party. The FPL was formerly known as the Workers’ Film and Photograph League; their mottos “Show Workers’ Films” and “Make Workers’ Films” are displayed towards the end of the film.

The marks of time are visible in the poor condition of the surviving film. It was first screened in June 1937 and was available for hire from the FPL Library, alongside another film they produced featuring May Day 1937, The Merry Month of May, also available on BFI Player.