Film ID:
YFA 2547



Visitor Tabs


This is a film of the May Queen celebrations at this school in Barnsley, South Yorkshire in three years - 1958, 1959 and 1960 -  filmed by Ron Beardshall, a colliery welder and husband of the school deputy Head Teacher, Elizabeth Beardshall.  As well as the crowning of the new Queen, the children perform a variety of acts watched by parents and relatives: including, the acting out of fairy tales and nursery rhymes, games and country dancing, with dancing around the Maypole.

Title (held up by two schoolgirls) - Birdwell Primary School Queen Crowning Wednesday 25th May 1958 at 2pm.  Procession of the Retiring Queen, Carole Shemwell

Four children, in historic costume, blow bugles to announce the forthcoming Queen, who is accompanied by a procession of boys and girls carrying flowers. The Queen makes her way onto the stage and is crowned by a small boy. Two small boys hold up a plaque:

Intertitle – Infants; horse parade – guard of honour – flower dance

Boys and girls run onto the stage in pairs holding hands wearing dancing costumes. They take seats to watch a slightly older group of boys march onto the stage. They are followed by girls dancing and holding round garlands of flowers. These they place on the floor in a circle and dance around them. All the boys and girls line up, and a girl holds up a plaque:

Intertitle - Procession of New Queen, Susan Wade

There follows another procession with the new Queen similarly escorted by girls, and given a salute by a line of boys. The new Queen is crowned and she gives a speech. A boy holds up a plaque:

Intertitle - Some of the Audience

The large crowd of onlooking parents are shown. Two boys hold up a plaque:

Intertitle - Juniors on the village green

The boys and girls in historic dress march onto the Green playing musical instruments stop and start singing. Some hold up a banner announcing the events. Boys stand with their backs to the audience wearing masks attached to the back of their heads and perform various ceremonial movements. A boy wheels on a music box adorned with painted birds, followed by boys and girls dancing, and wearing gypsy looking costumes. The children perform other acts, some dressed as monkeys doing rock and roll jive dancing. They then dance around the Maypole, followed by more singing. Small boys dance in formation with tambourines for the crowd, and others perform small plays.

Two girls hold up a plaque:

Intertitle - Recession

The Queen is escorted away, and the children pose for the camera in their normal school clothes, outside the school. They are shown across the road by the crossing lady.

Intertitle - Birdwell Primary School Queen Crowning 1959

A boy holds up a credit:

Filmed by Ron Beardshall - the End

There is a brief shot of a tall brick edifice, looking like Cleopatra’s Needle, followed by a school boy and girl holding a plaque:

Intertitle – Birdwell Primary school – School Queen Crowning 1959 – Procession of Retiring Queen, Susan Wade

The boys and girls are all lined up singing to the accompaniment to a teacher playing a piano, as the retiring Queen makes her way off with her entourage of girls in pink dresses, after making a speech. Two boys hold up a plaque:

Intertitle – Class 2 Boys: Tambourine Dancing   Girls: Petal Showers

Boys do a dance with tambourines, whilst girls walk in a procession throwing petals from baskets. A girl holds a plaque:

Intertitle – Procession of New Queen, Alison Green

The procession includes girls in blue dresses and boys wearing kilts. The new Queen is escorted onto the stage by three boys where she is crowned. Again the parents and other relatives are shown sat watching. Two girls hold up a plaque:

Intertitle – Class 1 Nursery Rhymes

The children enact various nursery rhymes. They then stage a comedy routine with a boy playing a schoolteacher.

Intertitle – Class 1 Country dancing

The children perform various country dances.

Intertitle – Watch Your Step, Class 3

Children show the correct way to cross the road, looking in both direction, whilst other children ride past in tricycles. There is another comedy routine, at a dentist. Two boys hold up a plaque:

Intertitle – Class 6 Dashing White Sergeant Maypole Dancing

Children do a country dance, followed by a maypole dance. The Queen then takes her leave. A girl holds up a plaque:

Intertitle – Filmed and edited by Ron Beardshall

Some children play in a field.

The End

Intertitle – Some of the Audience

The audience is shown followed by more comedy acts, sketches and country dancing performed by the children. A board shows the marks for a talent competition, with: Hinchliffe Hall Tinies; Fergusan Dancing Group; Low Mass Dramatic Club; Wood Ville Drama Club; Beard’s Hall Pantomime Troupe.  A boy ‘films’ the performances with a mock BBC film camera.

Intertitle – Class 3 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The class act out Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, some dressed in animal costumes, and there is a brief scene from another performance before the film comes to an end.