Film ID:
NEFA 22313



Visitor Tabs


An amateur film produced by Chris Anderson, with the assistance of Jackie Dodd and Dave Holder, recording local children from the Witton Park and Woodhouse Close areas of Bishop Auckland as they prepare for and participate in a pageant recreating the story of England for the Bishop of Durham John Habgood. The film begins and ends with the Bishop marching through the town followed by the children and onlookers.

The film opens on a suburban street in Bishop Auckland with the then Bishop of Durham John Habgood in full vestments marching along the road. Following behind a large group of children, many dressed in home-made costumes including that of Roman soldiers, early Britons and miners, accompanied by a number of adults.

The film changes to a school playground and some of the children seen previously dressed as Roman soldiers, playing with the fake swords. Two women separate them into two groups, one group is dressed in sacking representing early Britons. Some of the children practice sword fighting while others practice reading from the script.

In the playground of another school a second group of children not in costumes some carrying brass musical instruments, practice a scene from a re-enactment watched over by a female teacher.

Back at the previous school some of the children in costume practice another scene from the pageant on a grass field watched over by a male teacher. One of the children holds up a homemade poster that reads ‘Reward kill or capture of the Etherley Dene Boar. Signed The Bishop’. A young girl reads from a booklet while another, dressed as the boar, runs around and scrambles on all-fours on the grass before being attacked by a boy holding a fake sword, they play fight.

On a grassy area near the bungalows on Selby Close a group of children, some dressed as miners or their wives, give a performance to a group of other children sitting nearby. A man watches helping them with their performance. In the background a different group of children play football.

The film cuts to a road sign for Witton Park on the edge of the village followed by pupils of Witton Park St Chads Roman Catholic School being helped with their costumes and make-up by two female teachers in the grounds of the school. Some of the children are dressed as Romans soldiers carrying cardboard shields and swords. One boy carries a cardboard standard or Aquila, others are dressed in long white gowns.

The film returns to the Bishop of Durham leading the large group of children through the suburbs of Bishop Auckland watched by large crowds of onlookers. They come to a stop on a piece of grassy land surrounded by housing. A number of adults attempt to sort the children into groups while onlookers watch proceedings from behind a rope barrier. More children walk past, some carrying brass instruments, some dressed as miners and others wearing black bin-liners.

Nearby a school band perform with various wind instruments conducted by a man and watched by a small group standing around them. Back with the Bishop of Durham the costumed children and onlookers sit or stand around listening as he speaks into a megaphone. Various groups of children enter a roped area and begin to perform for the Bishop and watching crowds. Those children dressed as Romans are seen fighting those dressed as ancient Britons. The story of the Etherley Dene Boar follows next with the child dressed as the boar attacking or being attacked. The next story features those children dressed as miners re-enacting working underground with those children dressed in bin-liners representing the coal they dig. Finally, the last group of children perform a story relating to the development of the Darlington to Stockton railway beside an image of Locomotion No. 1. The story ends with a number of the boys playing a number of brass instruments.

The Bishop of Durham marches away from the grassy areas being chased by a number of children and followed by some of the adults. As they race past some of the children jump up and wave at the camera. The film ends on more of the people walking away and a view of the picture of Locomotion No. 1.