Film ID:
NEFA 21922



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A home movie made by Daniel Webster, believed a vice-principle of Bede College in Durham, of his family made between 1947 and 1957. The focus of the film is his two children who are seen growing from children to adults. The film records a number of domestic scenes of the family such as Christmas and holidays to the Lake District, Scotland and Ulster. The film includes a number of acted sequences featuring family members as well as shots 50's domestic scenes. The film also includes views from two Durham Miners Gala (1952 and 1955?) as well as motorbikes at Belmont Park and the Durham Regatta showing rowers on the river Wear.

The film is almost a series of visual postcards as it mostly fails to settle into any particular way of telling a story so the content appears very fragmented.

[Colour] The film’s opening view of various trees, shrubs and flowers, probably filmed in the grounds of Bede College, Durham. A young girl skips up a garden path that runs alongside one of the floral beds. She stops by one of the flowering plants and stoops down to take a closer look.

A stone wall which has plants growing out of various crevices is the supporting wall for a grassy bank and lawn which surrounds large house and is also a good vantage point for two artists who are sketching a view of Durham City.

A group of students stop to look at a garden border display, and a couple of them point out certain plants to their colleagues.

General views follow of buildings and flowering trees. The film cuts to two students tending a vegetable garden.

A sequence of views show the outline of Durham Cathedral silhouetted against a setting sun.

The film cuts to views of the college allotments in winter, where frost covers the leaves of plants. A man tends to one of the plots in the harsh winter weather.

General views follow of plants in the allotments growing through the winter snow and also a view of Durham City overcast with a grey winter gloom and snow on the ground.

At Bede College, a man clears a pathway with a brush and two children play on sledge along a snow covered road.

[B&W] A woman sits in the living room of a house, she removes a book from a bookshelf nearby. She reads it while a cat sits comfortably on her lap. She puts the book back and plays with the cat.

A boy lies on top of a wooden chest in a window alcove and plays with the cat by dangling a skipping rope in front of it.

A young girl plays with two dolls, then a view outside where the woman, the children’s mother puts down food for hens in a small enclosure.

The film cuts back to the boy and girl, who point at something they’ve spotted in an ornamental pond. The film cuts to them running across an open field (in the grounds of Bede College?)

General views show Bede College buildings, including the striking college chapel built in 1939.

The next sequence shows Christmas at home, with the two children looking excitedly at the presents that adorn the Christmas tree.

Dressed in pyjamas, the young girl does an impromptu headstand on the seat of an armchair. The film cuts to the family sitting around a table having a Christmas meal.

Outside the boy tries out a Christmas present [?], as he tries to stay upright on a pair of roller skates.

The film cuts to a view of a stone built house in the Lake District(?). A boy comes out of the front door followed by the younger girl and woman. The woman carries a backpack and all three are kitted out for walking. An older woman appears at the door and waves them off.

They stride out down a road, but soon leave it to climb a bracken-covered hill. At the top they take in the view of the countryside with a lake in the distance. They wave to the camera.

The walkers make their way to a lakeside. A cow stands in the shallows near the shore, which seems to give concern to the woman who tries to coax it out of the water.

The three walkers use stepping-stones to cross a stream. The boy tries his hand at rock climbing.

The film cuts to the seaside where the girl plays with wet sand. The boy plays cricket with improvised wickets and bat.

The film then shows the boy and girl playing in the shallows at a lake shore. The boy goes for a swim while his sister watches.

Cut to a pleasure boat passing by, followed by the boy’s mother drying him off with a towel following his swim.

The three walkers carry on their walk and arrive back at the house where they started. The older woman who saw them on their way greets them.

The film cuts to hillside and a parked car. This is the family on tour by car, they stand by the car and take in the view across the landscape.

The film returns to a lakeside and both children go for a swim. The film cuts to them getting out of the water and their mother towels them down.

A very brief section shows views from what is thought to be the gondola of Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge.

The film cuts back to the family on the beach where the father takes a snooze on the sand.

In the shallows just offshore a dog goes into the water and swims towards its owner who is swimming a little further out.

The film cuts to a view of Durham City centre, then back to a lakeside with small sailing dinghies out on the water. The woman and the two children watch as one of the boats sails off across the lake.

Night view or very dark section.

The little girl reads a book at a desk. The film then cuts to a boy on a boat, he sits next to the deck rails and stares out to sea, watching the ocean traffic.

The film cuts to a boating lake where small boats are hired. The young boy and his sister take a boat on the lake, the boy steers the boat. Then to the youngsters reading an information board in a park.

A small model figure of a doll appears next to a large plastic [?] watering can. Hands appear to pick up the models. A spinning top then appears.

Brief views follow of a photographers light meter and wrist watch side by side on a table.

[Blank section]

[Colour] This section opens with a view of a stream with mountains in the background. The boy and girl seen earlier stand in the stream. Their mother watches them from a bridge nearby. General views follow of a lakeside and mountains.

Mother and daughter read a notice that hangs beneath a pub (?) sign.

A general view follows of a bridge that crosses a stream near a group of poplar trees.

The film cuts to a ship in dock. The boy and girl look at it through nearby railings. A brief view follows of sailing dinghies moored in a river estuary. A general view from a hill looking down on a village in a valley.

The boy walks down a road to a small thatched house. General views follow of a river and woodland.

The little girl walking along an avenue away from the camera towards Windsor Castle(?) General views of what maybe Windsor city centre.

The film cuts to stubble burning in a field.

[B&W] The film cuts to an image of the date ‘1951’, which is marked out on a number of small parcels or packages(?) laid out on a lawn. The boy and girl each pick up one of the items.

The film cuts to their mother drying dishes in a kitchen. The little girl blows bubbles.

The boy runs out of the house into the garden in his school uniform. He vanishes then reappears in long trousers, a blazer and a straw boater hat.

The film cuts to the mother and little girl in a field picking flowers.

Another cut to a dark image taken indoors of the children’s father sitting on a couch stroking a cat. The cat runs away and the children run outside after it. The cat ends up perching precariously on the top of a wooden post. It then tries to walk along the ridge of a small tent.

Brief general views follow of a builder constructing a wall and a man digging in a field.

The next section shows the children playing indoors. The young girl plays with two teddy bears, then turns her attention to a doll’s house. She climbs into bed and waves to the camera.

The film changes to show the boy in the bath scrubbing his legs. He waves at the person operating the camera to leave the bathroom.

The father appears next who helps himself to a drink from a small barrel.

General views follow of fireworks and of the allotments at Bede College.

The next sequence shows a general view of the Durham Miners Gala in the city centre and of rowers on the river Wear.

Another cut to inside home and a picture of the extended family.

General views follow of schoolchildren on board ship at a port.

An interior view of a village hall or similar, shows the little girl picking up a mug from a stall attended by women who are selling the items.

Next the year ‘1953’ appears in chalk marked out on the pavement.

[Colour] General views follow of a motor cycle scramble which changes to indistinct footage of coloured lights, no location is visible.

The next sequence shows Durham City centre in particular the town hall decorated in red, white and blue presumably to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. General views follow of streets and the market square.

The film moves to the little girl looking at flowers in the garden, then playing with the pet cats. The mother herds hens.

Views of fireworks follow, then back to the little girl picking flowers on the riverbank. The boy and girl eat wild berries.

A brief view follows of their mother holding one of the pet cats, and then to the boy and girl reading comics in a field. The girl reads an edition of the Eagle.

General views follow of the Lake District [?] on a damp day.

Very crazed and scratched footage shows crowds at an airport as a BOAC aeroplane arrives. Ground crew service the aircraft for a return flight.

Motor racing, possibly at Croft in County Durham shows old fashioned racing cars speeding round the circuit.

The film cuts back to the stone built house seen earlier in the film, a huge mountain looming up behind it.

The mother and the boy and girl stand in a stream and point at the camera. General views follow of a lakeland landscape.

Following on footage shows general views of sheepdog trials and hound trailing.

Views show an athletics meeting on a school field [possibly Durham School]. Next the boy, seen in much of the film and much older now is in military uniform possibly as a cadet. His sister looks at the insignia on his tunic.

The film changes to a gliding centre as a glider is towed into the air and released. Another glider then comes into land.

The location changes with the little girl in bed in hospital.

The film cuts back to the boy in uniform [possibly an RAF Cadet], wearing sergeants’ stripes on his sleeve.

General views follow of roses and the Durham City landscape.

At the racecourse crowds gather to listen to speeches by leading members of the Labour party at the Durham Miner’s Gala. Aneurin Bevan speaks to the crowd. Brass bands play in Durham’s streets.

The camera picks out a poster attached to fence, it is advertising the Daily Herald and the headline is ‘Durham Miners Gala’.

Post-gala landscape on the racecourse shows litter strewn across fields and streets.

The film cuts to a roadside notice which reads’ Talkin Tarn – Boating and Bathing Car Park'.

Rowers get ready in their boats.

A view of Durham Cathedral follows then to a view from a room window looking out at a snow-covered garden.

The film cuts to Lake District[?} views showing hills, streams, mountains and verdant valleys.

A change of location and a building that has printed on its window ‘Uppingham School Shop’.

General views follow of a village and close up views of iron gates showing elaborate ironwork.

There follows the view of the ornate stonework of a cathedral [Lincoln?]

A panoramic view of Durham Cathedral shows a hedge and on a board in the hedge the year 1956 appears.

General views follow of lakes and hills.

A family settle down to a picnic beside a fast flowing river. More general views follow of a Lakeland landscape of hills, rivers and streams.

Generals views show a beach, then mother and daughter on a boat with seagulls gathering for titbits alongside. A car (reg no. ABR 262) is lifted off a ferry.

The family have breakfast outside on a beach, the two children go out to swim.

A car is parked on a road which has a message daubed onto the surface, ‘Ulster Is Ours’.

General views follow of cliffs and sea, and people swimming.

[B&W] This sequence begins with general views of cars parked near tents along with other views of sea and cliffs.

The family go on a boat trip, they then tour a ruined abbey.

Back at the camp food is prepared on a primus stove, followed by more general views of the camp.

More views follow of the ruined abbey. The young girl waves from a high window of a tall building.

Static view of a donkey and cart loaded with peat, followed by a general view of a whitewashed cottage.

The film then shows a family sized tent as they enjoy a picnic by a river.

A car is driven into in a garage and mother and daughter pick berries and twigs.

[Blank Section]

The film begins with an educational display of artefacts at a school. Arranged on desks and tables, the themes seem to be wildlife and pre-history [this section back to front].

A general view shows rowers on river.

The film then shows a board that reads Christmas 1953.

The family cat joins a family meal. The boy and girl play bat and ball in the garden.

The mother is busy at the stove, and goldfish swim in a tank.

Another board appears which reads ‘New Year 1954’

The mother and the two children toast the New Year, followed by a close up of a radio.

End title: A family record

1947 Of Things Domestic

There follows a set of miscellaneous inter-titles:

Winter 1947, Christmas 1947, A Day in the Lakes 1948

The film ends with the boy and girl now young teenagers posing for the camera in a static head and shoulders view.