This film is part of Rentals

Skid Kids

Young 'Swanky' Clarke, leader of the Burton Bullets Cycle Speedway Club, foils bicycle thieves on the streets of 1950s Bermondsey.

Children's 1953 49 mins

Director: Don Chaffey


There's shades of classic Ealing comedy Hue and Cry in this breezy, Bermondsey-shot Children's Film Foundation adventure from a long-gone London. 'Swanky' and his chums take on a gang of bike thieves with barely a thought for their own safety. There's oodles of fascinating social detail, while the thieves - all pencil moustaches, zoot suits and loud ties - resemble wartime spivs.

Watch out for character actor A.E. Matthews, who briefly appears as a bowler-hatted taxi passenger. Matthews was known for his portrayals of slightly dotty upper-class gents, and for the sheer length of his acting career, which spanned more than half a century. Also seen here is the New Caledonian Market, relocated to Bermondsey Square after the war. An ancient law meant that stolen goods could be legally sold here to market traders - an unusual legislation that the spivs are seen taking full advantage of in Skid Kids.