London’s Screen Archives enables Londoners see their past come alive on film. Managed by Film London, we are a unique network of historic film collections that cares for, collects and screens heritage film across the city. Together we preserve London’s rich film heritage from feature films to home movies, public information films, newsreels, and records of the capital’s many different industries.
This film is part of Free
Vital Years, Bushey
Neal Arden – actor and host of “Housewives’ Choice” – narrates this informative, thoughtful look at the Masonic boys’ school in Bushey.
From the collection of:
Bushey’s Royal Masonic School for Boys was built in 1903. This film explores the school, eavesdropping on lessons, lunches and boys’ dorms, as well as attending a Masonic Boys Institution board meeting near the Grand Lodge in Great Queen Street. The school is for boys whose fathers are “deceased or distressed” and much is placed on the fact the boys receive strong guidance and continual support as well as a good education. Narration is from actor and old boy Neal Arden.
The school closed in 1977 and is now luxury housing, but in 1966 it educated around 450 boys. The film explains that boys are of mixed ability, having arrived through need rather than educational ability, and shows lessons, lunch time and sporting activities. It’s an interesting look at a school that presents itself with the formality of the public school while accepting not all the pupils are academically gifted. Also includes visits to a board meeting in central London and amusingly stilted conversations between pupils and old boys – including Neal Arden – as the boys discuss their post-school plans.