Film ID:
YFA 1929

ENGLISH CHILDREN (LIFE IN THE CITY)

1949

Visitor Tabs

Description

A documentary made by Encyclopaedia Britannica, this film follows a "typical" English family who live in York.  The film explores different aspects of the family's life including work, school, home life, and leisure activities.

The film opens with a title card – EB Films
 English Children (Life in the City)
 Produced by EB Films Inc
 In Collaboration with Harold S. Kemp of Harvard University

The film opens with children playing in a schoolyard.  The boy, Tommy, is playing marbles, and the girl, Joan, is skipping rope.  The narrator speaks about the different types of games that are played in the schoolyard, and explains it is a very pleasant school building in the city.  Playtime is over and the children go back inside.  Inside the school, the children in Tommy’s class all sit at their desks and begin to draw. 

It is now the end of the day, and school is out.  Tommy goes to watch his older brother, Frank, play a game of cricket.  While the boys are involved with their sport, Joan and her mother go to the local grocers.  They buy a few apples from the shop which the shopkeeper weighs on a scale.  After making their purchase, the mother and daughter head home. 

The boys walk home from the cricket match along the city walls.  The York Minster is clearly visible in the background.  Once nearer the railway station, they peer over the wall to catch a glimpse of the railway yard before eventually making their way to the station.  Here the boys meet their father who is an engine driver, and after which, the three of continue on the route home. 

At home Joan is cutting flowers from the front garden to be used in a flower display for the dinner table.  Inside the kitchen, her mother is buttering bread and making tea for the upcoming meal.  In the dining room, the table is set and dinner is ready to be served.  The narrator explains that they will have cold meat, tomatoes, bread, butter, jam, and cake. 

When the boys return home for dinner, Frank turns on the wireless which is playing a programme from the BBC.  They gather around the table and discuss their upcoming holiday to the seaside.  After dinner, Tommy goes out to feed the dog, and his father begins his work in the back garden. 

The next day the family leaves on a holiday trip to Whitby.  They catch a train from York station, and as the train pulls up to the platform, the family boards and settles into an empty cabin.  From here they can see the picturesque views of the countryside which lie between the city and coast. 

Upon arriving at the seaside, the boys make their way down to the harbour to see the fishing boats.  A few fishermen sit on the decks mending the nets used to fish for their catch.  From the harbour the family makes their way up the winding streets of the town towards the cliffs which overlook the harbour as well as the rest of the town.  They climb up a hill, past a ruined abbey, and there, nestled in the country, is Grandmother’s cottage.

The family is greeted at the door by both Grandmother and Grandfather who invite them in.  All together, they gather around the fireplace to visit with one and other.  The film ends with this scene.