Film ID:
NEFA 10490



Visitor Tabs


Home movie compilation filmed between 1936 and 1941 in Dufaycolor and black and white by Middlesbrough dental surgeon and amateur filmmaker Tom H. Brown. The film focuses on his son and daughter, Helen and Tony. Footage includes holidays in Northumberland, Yorkshire, and a Thomas Cook tour to Belgium and Luxembourg in 1939. The compilation also includes black and white footage of the Brown family and friends attending the christening of Tony in 1940, and of Tony as a baby in 1941.

Title: Movie No. 23

The film opens with shots of Kate Brown and her daughter, Helen, in an indoor swimming pool. Helen is wearing an inflatable safety ring. Kate helps her daughter climb out of the pool. Kate performs a belly flop into the pool and swims away from camera. She performs another belly flop. Next, there is a close-up of her standing in the pool and talking to camera.

Title: Helen, Age 3 ½

Helen is in the changing room of a swimming pool, with a female pool attendant reading in the background.

Title: Al Fresco

Kate and her daughter are seated on the ground having a picnic, the bonnet of the family car in the foreground. A closer view shows the two eating on a blanket on the ground.

Title: Helen Age 4

Helen tries on her mother’s fashionable sunglasses and squints into the sun.

Title: Sweethearts

Tom Brown lies on the picnic rug with Helene in the sunlight. Helen kisses him.

Title: Pa and Ma’s Idea

Various shots of Tom and Kate, husband and wife, swimming in the large open air pool at Redcar.

Title: Music Hath Charms

In a paved area, a young boy plays the accordion and a young man is playing a guitar. There are many people sunbathing in the area, and a group of teenage boys are listening to the music. Close-up of a man asleep while sunbathing.

[black & white film]

Title: River Tees. Low Force

Kate Brown walks down a steep grassy bank, hand in hand with Helen.

Title: Helen, Now A schoolgirl of 4 ½

A close-up of Helen is followed by a shot of Kate and Helen standing by a dramatic series of waterfalls at Low Force in the Tees Valley. A sequence of close-ups and general views of the waterfalls follows.

Helen Brown sits on a cannon at a gun emplacement in her red beret and Kate perches on the ramparts of a fortified section of wall. In the background, there is a wide bay or estuary. A group of young children play in a sandpit, perhaps at a school. Then they line up and file past; all look at the camera and wave. The last boy looks about to cry as he walks past. A very small boy stands in the background and cries. Back in open countryside, Helen holds a bunch of buttercups and grins.

Title: Home of Black Headed Gulls

The next shot shows a general view of Helen in an area of marshland, still with buttercups. Helen points to flocks of black headed gulls over the marshes, possibly Newton Pool nature reserve.

Title: Gull’s egg

There is a shot of a gull’s egg on the ground in reeds.

The film cuts to a street scene in Belgium in 1939. A woman walks by holding a small girl’s hand. The woman wears traditional clothing of long dress and white bonnet. She gets onto a bicycle with the child and rides off down the street. Cafes line the street. There is an angled shot of two women wearing traditional lace bonnets.

Title: A Belgian Hiker

Helen walks down a country path with a stick. Her father has tea at an outdoor café table with Helen and another woman.

Title: Keep Fit In the Ardennes 1939

There is a close-up of Helen holding a bunch of wild flowers as she stands beside a stream. Helen and her mother sit at a bench beside a stream. Kate performs exercises with Helen by a river. Then Tom H Brown, dressed in a knickerbockers suit, attempts touch-your-toes exercises and Helen assists. A chateau and bridge appear in the background.

The film cuts to a brief view of the crowded entrance to a zoo, with modernist zoo sign lettering, followed by a brief close-up of a caged parrot.

Title: Belgium 1939. Cook’s Party.

A group of different generations of people, many of them women, sit and pose in gardens for a portrait, laughing and joking, probably all visitors on the Cooks Tour the Browns are on.

Title: Belgium 1939. Durbury. La Patronne.

Kate and an older women talk to a local woman on a street corner.

Title: Belgium 1939. Durbury. Feast of the Assumption.

A shot of a shrine of flowers on a balcony is followed by two short scenes of the procession taken from a high viewpoint. Young girls carry baskets of flower heads in the procession.

Title: Luxemburg 1939. Near Clervaux.

There are various shots of Tom, Kate and Helen Brown at a high viewing point overlooking a valley, near Clervaux.

[black & white film]

Title: Christening day. Tony Thos Brown. Dec 1940.

The Brown family and guests emerge from St Mary's Church in Acklam, Middlesbrough, after the christening of Tony.

Title: Tony. 4 weeks.

There are various close-ups of Kate Brown as she rocks Tony in her arms. Then Tom holds Tony in his arms and looks the proud father.

[black & white film]

Title: Tony. 4 months.

Helen Brown sits in a chair outside home with baby brother Tony on her lap. Portrait shot of the two. Tom, Helen, and Tony pose for the camera.

Title: Tony 6 months. Helen 7 years.

Helen and Tony sit outside on a blanket, both playing up to the camera. There is a close-up of Tony.

Title: Tomatoes Title: The Tomato Room Title: Small Plants

There are various shots of Helen holding the small tomato plants that she has grown, and progress shots of the tomatoes.

Title: Fruiting Title: A Truss

Close-ups of the growing tomato plants trussed up.

Title: Ripening Tomatoes ripen on the plant.

Helen walks up to the greenhouse and points to the plants inside. Close-up of tomatoes inside the greenhouse.

Title: The Water Supply

Makeshift drainage pipes collect rain water to run into a barrel.

Title: The Results. Ah-h-h.

Tom Brown holds three different sizes of tomato against a coin for scale. Tomatoes are lined up against a bag of Tomato Manure. There are various shots of the Brown family in the garden of the family home, with a focus on baby Tony in his pram. Tony waves his arms around wildly. There are several scenes of Tony in his pram and of the family together.

[Black & white footage]

The baby Tony stands in a sunlit room, a little unsteady on his feet, and holding onto something for support. His father holds Tony on his knee in the same room. Tom Brown has quiffed his hair a little.

Note: The advent of war made the availability of amateur movie stock almost non-existent as all resources were used for aerial photography of enemy lands and installations. Tom H. Brown used his small remaining stock of black and white film to photograph Anthony Brown's christening in 1940, and as a baby in 1941, and then as a toddler in 1942. No more movies were made until war ended in 1945.