Film ID: YFA 4854 Video of YFA 4854 Jubilee Celebrations at Hull 1935 JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS AT HULL 1935 Visitor TabsDescription Made in and around Hull, this film contains footage of a street party which was held in celebration of the 1935 Jubilee. The film also includes a fancy dress competition at the Stoneferry Carnival and physical fitness displays by members of the Hull Physical Culture Club. Title – Jubilee Celebrations at Hull. Lord Mayor sends message by Carrier Pigeons. Men, women, and children are gathered together in a park where two men attach a message to a pigeon’s leg before the bird is left to fly away. Title – Terrace & Street Celebrations All the neighbourhood children are gathered together in the narrow street between sets of terraced houses, and patriotic decorations and bunting hang between the houses. Older family members have now also gathered in the street with the children, and in the centre of the crowd is a nurse who does a little dance for the camera. The children also wave for the filmmaker. Tables have been set up for the party, and the children, many wearing paper hats, sit and eat at the tables. Their parents stand behind them. Title – Stoneferry Carnival. Fancy Dress Celebration and Children’s Tea. A prize table has been set up for the event, and a man in a hat stands behind the table where he makes a list. More spectators, or possibly judges, are gathered behind him. Following this are shots of the children who are in fancy dress, focusing on individual children as well as small groups. At the end of the celebration, prizes are awarded. Inside an events hall, the Children’s Tea takes place. The children are all sitting at tables which are covered with white linen table cloths. The adults are gathered at the edges of the room, and there are a few small round tables for some of the older people in attendance. Back outside, groups of adults have gathered for the camera, and some of them are also in fancy dress. Title – Entertainment & Displays in the Parks There is a brief shot of a ventriloquist performing on a small stage set up in the centre of a park. Following this are physical displays from the Hull Physical Culture Club. A body builder is on stage with a presenter who explains which muscles to which the athlete draws attention. A large crowd has gathered to watch the entertainment in the park, and a group of children are near the front of the stage. Following the bodybuilder is a man who lifts a barbell high above his head. He also lifts a kettlebell to his shoulders. There are shots of the crowd who watch the display intently; some laugh and others smile for the camera. Boys from the audience make their way to the stage to see if they are strong enough to lift the weights, and members of the Club act as spotters. There is more footage of the people gathered for the event in the park including some children who picnic on the grass. The film closes with shots of children on playground equipment. Context This is part of the Ian Smith Collection that includes films going back to 1927. Ian's uncle made a number of excellent films of Hull in the 1930s, including the Avenues, and some fantastic film of Hull Carnival, Hull Fair and the Hull Rag Parade, as well as one of the opening of Hull University by King George V in 1927, Royal Visit. The films provide a fascinating glimpse into pre-war Hull and of some of Hull’s many lost businesses, such as Stewart & Craig Engineers (see the Hull Forum for a list of vanished Hull companies). He also made films of farmer’s fairs, Robin Hood's Bay, Filey, Bridlington and Scarborough. The YFA has films of similar celebrations for the 1935 Jubilee in Clayton West, near Bradford, in Pool in Wharfedale, Kirkby Malzeard, Long Preston and Wigglesworth – see also Bradford Silver Jubilation. King George V was of course on the throne during the First World War, and his visits to the Western Front won him respect from many. He has often been portrayed as rather dull and conservative in his views, but he is also seen as taking the monarchy forward in a modern direction. By most accounts he was generally held in high esteem, and was liked even by many of those who at that time were suffering badly from the 1930s depression. It is not easy to identify the places that are seen in the film, especially as much of Hull was destroyed in the heavy bombing endured throughout the war – in total 86,715 buildings were damaged. A visit to the excellent interactive map on Hull Blitz shows exactly where they fell (References) – see too the Context for King George and Queen Visit Hull (1941). More information on the bombing of Hull – what was hit and how much damage and loss of life was caused – can be found at the Hull History Centre, which, at the time of writing, is running a WW2 Cataloguing Project. The History Centre also holds a copy of the Co-operative Women’s Guild Scrapbook, Hull: ‘Our Hometown’, which contains some fascinating insights into Hull in the 1930s through records and photographs of Hull going back to the 19th century. The first scene, with the Lord Mayor Frederick Till, looks as if it is near one of the docks, while the Stoneferry Carnival is presumably taking place in East Park; and presumably also it was a one-off event to mark the Silver Jubilee, rather than part of an annual parade. Nor is it clear exactly when the street parties took place, although May 6th was the official date of the Jubilee (6th May 1910 was when Edward VII died and George became King): it was the day when the Silver Jubilee commemorative medal and mug were issued. The King died just eight months later on January 20, 1936 – leading to the abdication crisis of his son Edward III. Hull has often been visited by monarchs – although they have not always received a friendly welcome. Famously, King Charles I was blocked from getting into Hull (to gain access to its arsenal) by Sir John Hotham in 1642, during the English Civil War. King George V himself, together with Queen Mary, had visited in 1914, and did so again in 1937 and 1941 – the last two occasions being preserved on film held at the YFA, see King George And Queen Visit Hull (1941). These were followed up by Elizabeth II paying a visit in 1957, see Royal Visit Hull. An intriguing section of the film shows the Hull Physical Culture Club. This may not be something that has much resonance today, but physical culture clubs were popular between the wars across Yorkshire: in Birstall, Starbeck (near Harrogate) and Batley. Today the phrase ‘physical culture’ is uncommon, although physical culture clubs are still popular in Australia, where Physie (as it is known there) incorporates dance and exercise for girls and women. It is not clear who first coined the term, but various movements promoting gymnastics and exercises grew up around about the same time in the mid-19th century across Europe – one of the first being the system of gymnastics developed by the Swede Pehr Henrik Ling. It was popularised around the turn of the century by two bodybuilders, who were both weakly as children. The first was the Prussian Eugen Sandow who created the Institute of Physical Culture in 1897, and then a monthly periodical titled Physical Culture. He was quickly followed by Bernarr Macfadden, a poorly American orphan, who has been called ‘the father of physical culture’. Macfadden founded several Physical Culture clubs in 1899, and soon after a popular magazine of that name. In 1904 the Alpha Physical Culture Club, America's first all-black athletic club (aka the Alpha Big Five), was formed in Harlem. The basic ideas behind this – of the importance of developing physical health – were already gaining strength in Britain for several reasons: a need was felt for more exercise for the middle class, having a too sedentary life; and for the working class, having too exhausting a life (not to mention unhealthy living and working conditions). One upshot of this was the movement of Muscular Christianity, which emphasised the moral benefits of physical wellbeing. Macfadden visited Britain in 1903 and incorporated some of what he saw into his own fast growing movement. It subsequently developed differently in different countries: in Britain forming a closer association with weight lifting, especially as this was an Olympic event. It was probably Sandow though who most likely inspired the performance seen in the film as he pioneered "muscle display performances". Sandow had become a famous Victorian strongman who staged the world’s first physique contest at the Royal Albert hall in 1901, and subsequently toured the country setting up a chain of fitness centres – possibly the origins of Hull Physical Culture Club. What is more, he was appointed Professor of Physical Culture to King George V. Some may remember the 1960s ‘muscle man’ of Opportunity Knocks fame (Tony Holland). The level of enthusiasm seen in the film for the monarchy seems to have diminished in the intervening years – see the Context for Fearby Silver Jubilee. The number of applications for street parties for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011 was in general very low, with Hull not getting any. Many reasons can be given for this. Some have put it down to the time of year, others to a decline in community spirit. The singer-songwriter Paul Heaton, of Housemartins' fame, who lived for many years in Hull, puts it down to, “a mix of indifference and general suspicion of authority.” However, the fact that Hull has an unemployment rate of nearly 15 per cent of the working age population – almost double the national average (and with at one time 58 jobseekers for each post) – might also have something to do with it. References Nikolaos Nissiotis, Olympism and modern physical cultureHull BlitzHull History CentreHull ForumHull receives no applications for royal street parties Paul Heaton, Hull is no king's townNomis: official labour market statisticsPhysical Culture, WikipediaBernarr Macfadden’s Physical CultureThe Golden Age of Iron Men: the Physical Culture MuseumBernarr MacfaddenC. Lang Neil, Modern Physical Culture Physical Culture front coversOrigins of Weightlifting Further Reading David Waller, The Perfect Man - The Muscular Life and Times of Eugen Sandow, Victorian Strongman, Victorian Secrets, 2011.