Film ID:
YFA 312


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This is a film by Charles Chislett of a Whit Procession in Rotherham and probably a charity fund raising event, possibly at the Chislett house. The procession incorporates many elements of Empire Day.

(B&W) The film starts with a boy on a procession carrying a placard, which just reads 'England'. He is followed by two older boys, one dressed as a 'John Bull' character, the other as a medieval knight. The procession that follows consists of children in historical dress carrying placards with the dates of important events in the history of Sunday schools, one declaring that 'Masbro Independent Chapel Sunday School commenced in 1780'. The rest of the procession commemorates the British Empire and prominent British Christian missionaries. Walking behind banners representing the different countries of the Empire, children are dressed in the different costumes representing these places. The African one has a banner for 'Khama, the African chief who Christianised his people'. On the procession are Sunday School groups, Dr Barnados and Missionary groups; each with a banner depicting their work. The procession lines up in a field with Rotherham Forge and Rolling Mills Co. Ltd. in the background.

The procession makes its way through the streets of Rotherham, with the Salvation Army Band leading, filmed from across the road from the Public Baths. Among those on the procession is a group seemingly dressed in steel working clothes. One banner reads, 'The profit of the Earth for all', another for 'Masbro Ebenezer Wesleyan Reform Sunday School'. The procession arrives at Clifton Park, where they congregate around the bandstand.

(Colour) A Boy's Brigade group pose for the camera with the May Queen holding a bunch of laurels. A gardener tends church grounds, and then the procession proceeds towards Rotherham city centre, with crowds watching from the side. There are many placards with Christian messages, with one proclaiming 'Freedom to Worship'. Other placards are for prominent figures in the history of Christianity: 'Martin Luther', 'The Pilgrim Fathers', 'John Wesley' and 'Robert Raikes' (founder of the Sunday school movement). Some children are dressed as missionaries, others as native Africans. There are floats depicting stories from the Bible, such as the Prodigal Son. There is a school choir, followed by banners for 'Eastdene Baptist Sunday School' and 'Whinney Hill Methodist Sunday School'. Back at Clifton Park the Lord Mayor and other dignitaries crowd onto the bandstand. The Salvation Army band plays as people throng around the bandstand. The Lord Mayor makes a speech.

Elsewhere a man buys an ice cream from a stand and a vicar gives a talk to a group of adults children seated in front of a large house. They all stand to sing. Then people relax, some playing games of bat and ball. Chislett's son, John, drives a lawn mower around the large garden pulling a cart with a girl on it. They all sit down at long tables in the sun to eat. There is a slide and other games are being played.

The film returns to the Whit Procession, with the various groups gathering for the start. There is more film of the children in fancy dress. The procession walks through the streets and gathers again in Clifton Park where there is a presentation.