Film ID:
YFA 2545



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This film is part of a collection of films which chronicle the 'May Queen' celebrations that took place annually at Birdwell Primary school in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. It was filmed by the school Headmaster and captured the tradition of the crowning of the Queen as well as the performances put on by the children.

The film opens with shots of the busy school yard which is crowded with children. The procession of the 'Retiring Queen' makes its way to the stage and consists of several female attendants in dresses with flowers and some male attendants with brass horns and the crown. They make their way to the stage where they sit down and one of the boys removes the crown and replaces it with a smaller crown.

There is a procession and the new May Queen and her attendants come along the path towards the stage through the audience. Some of the young girls at the front throw petals as they walk along. She makes her way onto the stage where a teacher crowns her the new Queen and then makes a speech. The teacher is given a bunch of flowers and then the Queen makes a speech.

After this ceremony the filmmaker films the other events that highlight the different stories that the children have learned out in school.

Some of the girls come dancing out onto the yard and spin in a circle. There are more performances and re-enactments by the children; including plays with a witch, a medieval gent and a girl holding a large tree branch. A group of boys and girls with pointed hats and scarves dance around the yard in pairs, and this is followed by some boys wearing shorts who hop around and then have play fights. There are some more plays with characters from fairy tales.

There is a lengthy sequence of longs shots showing children doing country dancing and then a Maypole dance where a group of girls in white dresses weave in and out holding colourful ribbons.

Title-Birdwell Primary School Queen Crowning 1956.

Title-The Choir.

A large group of children are lined up near the stage and are singing.

Title-Procession of Retiring Queen Angela White.

There are shots of the traditional procession where the previous year's Queen walks to the stage with her attendants, sits on the throne and has her crown removed by one of the attendants and replaced with a smaller one.

Title-Procession of New Queen Kathryn Marshall.

The new queen from the previous film is now retiring and the new Queen and her attendants walk up to the stage where all of her attendants take it in turns to bow in front of her.

Title-The Crowning, Mrs A.O. Elmhirst.

The new Queen is helped onto her throne and the teacher, Mrs Elmhirst, puts the crown on her head and makes a speech. The teacher receives a bouquet of flowers from an older girl and then the new Queen makes a speech; there are shots from the stage looking down at all of the parents taking pictures.

The next few scenes are performances of well-known stories and situations acted out by the children in various classes.

Title-Infants Class 1. The Lion Hunt.

The young children play lions and huntsmen. They all have very well-made costumes.

Title-Standard 2. The Pied Piper.

A large group of older children dressed as the adults, the rats and the children from the story run about bringing the story to life.

Title-Standard 1, the Unwanted Fire Engine.

The boys and girls dance around in costumes; one of the boys holds a toy gun up to the group.

Title-Standard 3, the Outlandish Knight.

A boy and a girl play a medieval Queen and a Knight.

Title-Infants Class 2, Old Mother Hubbard.

A young girl is dressed up to look like an older woman. A young boy is dressed as a dog and pretends to look for food in the woman's kitchen.

Title-Standard 4. Sports view.

Next to perform are a group of boys pretending to scrum for a pretend rugby match.

Title-Standards 3 & 4 girls, Morris dancing.

A group of girls are dressed in white clothes and dance in and out while crossing sticks and then they dance around the group with handkerchiefs.

The new Queen and her procession walk away from the stage and towards the camera.

Title-Some of the audience

From the stage, the camera pans all the way along the audience. Most of the parents smile at the camera.

Title-Filmed by Ron Beardshall.

Edited by Reg Hastie.

Title-The End.

Title-1957, Birdwell Primary School, Queen crowning.

Title-Retiring Queen and attendants.

The procession of the retiring Queen makes it way up to the stage where the Queen's crown is removed and exchanged for a smaller one.

Title-Procession of Retiring Queen Kathryn Marshall.

Title-Class 1, Swedish Dancing.

The children are dressed in traditional Swedish costume and dance in pairs and dance around swapping partners.

Title-Standard 1, `The shoes which were danced to pieces'.

The younger children are performing a play for the audience.

Title-Crowning of retiring queen.

Title-Procession of New Queen, Carole Shemwell.

The procession of the new Queen and her attendants makes its way through the crowd and up to the stage. The Queen is helped onto her thrown.

Title-Crowning of New Queen by Mrs S. Wright.

The teacher puts the crown on the new Queen's head and makes a speech. Then she is given flowers by an older girl and sits down to let the May Queen make her speech.

Title-New Queen and Attendants.

There are shots of the Queen, her hand maidens, her brass horn blowers and her other attendants.

Title-Standards 3 & 4 girls, Maypole Dancing.

The older girls are in pairs, holding onto ribbons and dancing around the pole.

Title-Standard 2, the Golden Goose.

They children are dressed as local people from the times period of the book. There is a toy goose which is used as a prop.

Title-Class 2, The Magic Toy shop.

In this scene there are lots of children performing and dancing with each other.

Title-Standard 3, the Story of Spring.

Title-Standard 4, Mayflower III.

The children are dressed up as characters from the Mayflower ship story.


Title-Some of the audience

The camera is near the stage and takes panning shots across the audience. Some of the men and women smile at the camera.

Title-Filmed by Ron Beardshall.

Edited by Reg Hastie.

Title-Home in Safety, Crossing the Road.

A lollipop stands smiling at the camera. There are shots of some children beside her and then of her helping the children to cross the road.

There is a shot taken from a bit of a distance away and a man is lining up some of the children in costumes and taking photographs of them.

Title-The End.