Film ID:
NEFA 14544



Visitor Tabs


This home movie documents the 1937 birthday celebrations for a member of the Armstrong family, held at Cragside, near Rothbury, Northumberland. The focus is on extended family and friends who attend and pose in the Cragside gardens for this commemorative film.

The film opens with a sequence of brief shots of individual young women as they walk past camera. Cragside gardens and clock tower are in the background. The women are dressed in smart skirt suits and hats. One woman shakes a young girl’s hand. Another takes a baby out of a pram and holds it in her arm, with another pram standing on the path.

A man in plus fours and flat white hat, with a black Labrador dog and a long stick under his arm, is talking to Baron Watson-Armstrong and a woman. She plays with a baby’s hand. A woman in a white hat and waved bob hairstyle holds the baby and smiles to camera. An older woman (Baroness Watson-Armstrong?) is talking to them and giving the baby attention. Another woman with a baby is also at the gathering. A young girl is encouraged to pose for the camera and smiles bashfully.

Two mature women are standing together. Both are dressed in best clothes with fur-trimmed coats and one carries a cane. A large party of women are gathered with the Baron, another older man and the chauffeur. There are shots of the women and a child.

Various shots follow of the group as they walk through Cragside gardens towards the Cottage In the Park.

The film cuts to a shot of the gardener digging in the garden. The group gather in the gardens, with dense woodland in the background. The women are pushing prams along the path and they walk onto the veranda. There are various shots of the group as they walk through different areas of the gardens such as the rhododendron and landscaped gardens. There are occasional close-ups of flowers and bushes. They pick their way through the grounds, by the lake, and stand on a stone bridge.

The Armstrong car drives along the road past camera, carrying two women and Baron Watson-Armstrong.

Further shots of the lake, trees and rhododendrons in bloom follow.

An elderly woman stands at the Cragside entrance and waves. The family car drives out of the Cragside grounds.

There are further shots of the Cragside gardens with the house seen in the background.

A man shakes hands with two women, one of whom is Lady Armstrong.

Four women link arms and walk together towards camera. Others group together in the same way posing for the camera. One group includes a vicar.

Baron Watson-Armstrong rushes over to shake hands with an elderly woman with grey hair, whose birthday the guests are celebrating. She stands and receives their greetings in kisses and hand shakes of a series of children, relatives and other guests.

The next scene records a tennis game with two young girls in party frocks attempting to hit balls over the net.

A small group socialise on the path in front of the Cottage In The Park, Cragside.

Baron Watson-Armstrong stands with the elderly woman of the previous scene. The camera tracks past the party guests. The whole crowd of guests again walk through the grounds and congregate in front of the Cottage In The Park. A series of individual portrait shots follows of guests arranged in a line. As the camera reaches the vicar, he looks stern and a tuft of his hair is sticking out at an angle. Another shot records the guests by the tennis court.

There are shots of individual flowers and bushes. The group then walk back via a lily pond in groups of twos and threes. There are various shots as the group meander back through the grounds, with views of the hills in the background.

They arrive back at a table laid for a birthday tea. The camera focuses on various members of the group, including three children with ribbons in their hair.

The film closes with shots of the Cragside rhododendron bushes.