Social History | 1930 | Silent | B/W
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Selection of semi amateur films from Northampton. Bassett-Lowke amateur home movies
Includes - Good scenes of The Duke Of York (later King George VI) in 1930 at foundation laying ceremony and pageant.
Brief colour sequence of remembrance day(?).
Pageant at Lord And Lady Spencer's Althorpe House.
Brief Kodacolor bit of Mrs Bassett-Lowke.
Cruise ship scenes.
Mrs Bassett-Lowke and friend in furs next to Rolls Royce and enjoying a drink.
Holiday stuff in the Alps.
View of London from Westminster Cathedral.
Natural History society outing in open topped minibuses and Bull-nosed Morris cars.
Policemen do checks on motorcyclists on a road.
Garden scenes at New Ways.
Plans for St Giles Street, Northampton.
Aerial views of a big house and countryside.
Boot and shoe making.
LMS railway Castle Station.
Bizarre pageant with people being silly.
Synopsis - A man talks into a microphone, possibly at the opening of a swimming pool. People are sat around a table with some flowers on it, maybe judging the swimming event or observing at least- everyone is dressed formally. A female swimmer in a black modest one piece swimsuit (swimming costume) tucks her hair under her swim cap and paces around a bit. Two swimmers head towards the camera end of the pool swimming in a bizarre style (maybe corkscrew swimming or newfie stroke). A reframe as they continues to swim up the pool. A man and some women watch the action (as implied by the edit, but who knows) before moving away from their spot. People are sat in some kind of stand, watching the event- maybe we can assume it is the swimming event but the edits are quite erratic so who knows.
Mr. Bassett-Lowke wearing glasses, a tie and a waist coat smokes a cigarette and operates a splicing device. A bronze bust of a figure, possibly roman or Greek. A view from a train window, in the countryside, another steam train comes up by the side of it and overtakes us. Two men walk up a road along side a building, with a dog (maybe a Westie) following. Three men stand next to a chequered thing behind them (maybe a theatrical set piece?) as two of them paint the walls.
Title: Doddridge Chapel- Where Dr. Doddridge the famous preacher and hymn writer was Minister from 1730 to 1751. A short pan across the building. Close-up of a sign: "Gold medal bell fireplaces". Some people stand around outside a large white tent and if their moustaches are anything to go by, these are important people of some sort. Reframe of the previous bunch, one of them is speaking publicly. A scene of a well kept garden with a water feature, a large plant stands in its centre. A few girls observe another garden containing a number of large plants and shrubs- they stand behind a protective rope. Inside the tent, people walk alongside a long table with a variety of flowers laid out for peoples perusal. The other side has lots of vegetables, a lot more people are interested in this display.
Title: "Other industries in Northampton include, iron founding, tanning and leather dressing, brewing, shoe machinery, sports goods, cardboards boxes and shoe trees, boot polishes and shoe findings brushes sweets". Title: "These are some of the features of Northampton the town in the centre of England. "Establish your industry here and use its intelligent and alert labour - Live here enjoy its amenities - the town is bright and well managed - rainfall is low, sunshine high - Visit Northampton and see for yourself - Write to the town clerk for more information - castello fortier concordia"
Title: Visit of H.R.H. Duke Of York to Northampton festival week June 1930 During the mayoralty of Ralph Smith. (Duke of York , later King George VI)
Two men stand talking to each other before facing the camera and saying something unrecorded- they look like they may belong to the police or possibly the Duke of York's guards but their uniform is in a very gendarme style. Prince Albert the Duke of York leaves a building by the stone stairs at the front and makes his way along the road with the Mayor- they are accompanied by a number of people. Two women are filmed leaving the building but this is cut short by the edit. A dozen or so people make their way down the stairs, everyone is dressed in a formal way, shiny top hats etc. We briefly see a man address the crowd. The Duke and the Mayor stand in solemn silence, a row of people behind do the same. The Duke swings the hat back on to his naked head and they ready themselves to leave that location. The Duke and the Mayor proceed past the camera followed by everyone else. They lay a large wreath made up of pale flowers against (what is probably) a World War One memorial before moving down the steps away from it. The dignitaries make their way along a path between patches of lawn, businesses can be seen in the background of the frame. They walk down a road, the pavements are lined with people behind wooden barricades looking on. Slight reframe to a very brief close-up. A brass band in full uniform file past the camera- a young girl runs along with them. The dignitaries stand around in the middle of the road, people line the pavements. The Duke and another man with a long row of medals and a hat with a curved top (maybe a bowler hat) greet the brass band leader. The Duke and his people clamber up in to the Rolls Royce (Rolls-Royce), a business called 'Johnson and Wright' can be seen in the background. Reframe to another angle, the car pulls itself along the road- the loyal crowd wave goodbye. More flag and hand waving from the crowd. The man with the medals points to the camera in an amused fashion. The brass band play on and make a new formation. Around one hundred school girls in summer hats wave to the car. Close-up of some of the girls.
Dignitaries make their way through a gate. Slight reframe to a wider shot, they walk past the camera. They then pass through rows of nurses who stand respectfully. Wider shot of them being lead through the grounds. Reframe as they approach the wall. The Duke stands looking confused briefly at the foundation stone (or cornerstone. He is given a trowel. Brief cut to the back of a policeman's (or guard's) head, with an ornate helmet. Back to the prince who smoothes out the mortar beneath the suspended block. Cuts to the brick layer doing the real work and tidying up his effort before laying the stone. The Duke gives the corners a ceremonious tap with a mallet to even it out. A shot of the process again, but from the reverse angle- a cleric is seen beside him. He wonders up small set of wooden stairs. And then back down a set. A close-up of to coppers or guards standing beside the expensive car. The dignitaries head out the front gate, between the rows of nurses and back in to the car with a few jumps in the film throughout.
The Duke makes his way out between the seated and standing groups of people at (what might be) a showground or open theatre. Men mounted on horseback wear medieval style costumes, the horses are also decorated. A play is performed, everyone is wearing medieval costume- it seems to be some kind of royal romance story, there are lots of jump cuts throughout with nothing really happening. High angle shot of the large cast, some dressed as nuns, guards enter a formation. Monks march solemnly in a line behind some choir boys. The Duke marches past all of this and goes his own way.
The same monument from before, now in colour- mayoral looking dignitaries stand reading at the memorial. A boys choir is conducted, they are dressed in red and white. Brief shot of a reading from the lectern. A wide shot where we see the choir positioned behind the memorial. Brief shot of the dignitaries (maybe mayors or councillors). One of them lays a poppy wreath at the foot of the memorial. Everyone files out of the grounds, led by the choir boys. Brief shot of people in a line, most of whom are dressed formally. A long strip of crowd on the pavement, two flags are held up- one being the union jack, the other is unknown to me- end of colour footage.
Title: "Lord & Lady Spencer, at a pageant at Althorpe House. Representing the visit of Anne of Denmark to this famous house in June 1603". A pageant follows with people in costume, synchronised dancing in groups. Brief shot of people marching along, also taking part in the pageant. More dancing, brief cut and more dancing. A darkly dressed figure with a long pole marches about observing this and that. A crowd of girls with white bonnets on their head wave their handkerchiefs at something out of frame. People dressed as fairies or something similar march across the frame. The cast applaud and an animal hanging from a stick (maybe a deer) is briefly brought on before cutting to black.
Kodacolor shot of Mrs Bassett-Lowke, sat at a table arranging flowers in a bowl. Reframe, action continues briefly. Another woman, much younger smiles to the camera and discusses something with someone off camera. She then leads as both women leave the house, Mrs Bassett-Lowke is gripping a black cat, maybe her house pet. The younger woman smiles and knowing smile to the camera, the cat is still in the older woman's clutches. High angle shot of the young woman running up to the camera with the cat in her hands. Both women lean over and inspect the sundial and its accompanying gargoyle. The younger woman puts her arm around the older woman, both woman are wearing necklaces and both have curls in their hair. We now see the younger woman's husband (we can assume) as they are framed together in a tight shot, being very kissy and cuddly and acting like they are in love. We then see the same female run down the length of the garden towards the camera and up a few stairs. We now see both couples stood outside a large wooden door with a stone doorway.
A boat speeds along a body of water. People take their seats on the boat, everyone dressed for sunny day of leisure. Close-up of a man and a woman, he is quite a bit older then her. Reframe, his arm is now around her. High angle shot looking down at a small boat, carrying 12 or people including the crew, a flag with the union jack in the corner flaps in the wind (possibly royal navy?). The captain and a man in a dinner jacket both try and smoke their cigarettes but both struggle to find a box of matches. We see hilly land off in the distance, partly hidden by a dark mist.
A man leads a horse towards the camera while the other continues to graze, he is wearing a flat cap and a neck tie. For a moment a horse walks past a flowery bush. A horse is then lead by the man past a stable, the smaller horse follows. The shot is then repeated, but this time the smaller horse is accompanied by a man. Two females leave a Rolls Royce after their driver opens the door for them- they are dressed in fur coats with a disproportionately large fluffy collars. reframe as they walk towards the camera. Another reframe as they look in to the camera and speak the odd word to each other- it is Mrs Bassett-Lowke and friend. Both women are seated inside, sipping an alcoholic drink from a clear glass, the older woman shoots a smile to the camera. Blurry shot of a man whizzing past the lens for a few frames. Two men in hats (fedora style possibly) stand together, one reaches in his pocket for something. After a brief jump in the film, we see that one has produced a little model of a bottle (maybe Champagne) and they both act amused by it for a moment. Another jump in the film, a blurry close-up of one of the men, we see in the background that they are in a train station by a platform. The two man are now joined by a third, wearing a scarf. The train pulls away and we see the people on the platform's reflection in the passing windows- brief jump in the film and a pan to a still busy platform. Blurry and scratched shot of a man smoking a cigar, possibly on a train carriage.
A man in a flat cap and another man with darker skin pose and chat in front of the camera, behind them we see snow topped trees and hills, the ground is white. We see the same man in the flat cap walk towards the camera on the snow alongside a metal railing, a large building is seen in the background. The same man is now seen stood in front of an enormous building that looks vaguely art deco, with a massive dome on the top. Reframe, and we see how high up the camera is positioned as it pans from a low angle back up. Shots of a toy models of skiers and children's on sledge (or sled) from various angles on a white background. A male and female ice skate together, there are various reframes as we see them try out different moves on the ice. Two horses pull a sleigh up a hill with two men in the back. Close-up of the two men.
Various shots from inside a restaurant or café, a waiter comes over and serves something to the diners. The ice skaters continue to glide along, this time hand in hand. The two men pose for the camera for a moment, in front of some trees, the mood is jovial. A man observes his lady spin on her ice skates at a rapid pace- she turns at least 30 times, impressive to look at. We see the darker skinned man once again in close-up, he wears a moustache. We see the same man get his chin tickled by another in a friendly way. A group of people are playing curling, a change of angle reveals that lots of other people are also involved in their own games. Reframe to a close-up as we see one of the stones slide across to meet the others. A few people traipse about on a flat bit of the snow, some on skis, others walking.
A man stands on a wooden path, made up of beams pressed into the snow, he walks to the camera with a drink in his hand as a couple stand together on the right of the frame. Back in the ski lodge's café, most people at the table are smoking- one puts his jacket on. One man walks on his ski's on an uphill bit. Very high angle shot of the London, most of the land marks are visible including St. Paul's cathedral, big Ben, Westminster palace etc.
Back to New Ways for more stair and cat posing- various shots of the woman interacting their cat. Now Bassett-Lowke teases the cat with a ball and handkerchief. They both walk down the stairs leading into their garden together, no idea who the man is though. A dark room full of poorly lit things- could be anything. Three young women investigate some bushes in the garden- the are carrying what might be eggs. One of the young women is now framed with a man in a suit, there is an atmosphere of romance between them. They are now throwing eggs (or more likely small pieces of fruit) to each other. Close-up of the couple as they pose for the camera. A wider shot shows them eating what's in their hands, giving credence to the fruit theory.
A woman holds up a title made up of press in letters: "Northants Natural History Society - summer outing - filmed by BL & JD". A point of view shot (P.O.V.) of motor cars moving slowly up a narrow village road. A moustached man with glasses stands in front of the camera, he points to the camera and smiles exposing a crooked tooth. An older man sits in his car smiling at the camera, he bites down on his pipe but becomes distracted by the man behind him. An old man with a beard returns something to his breast pocket as he poses for the camera by a fence. Lots of people walk around the narrow road and explore the area. A large pig tending to six or so piglets. Another pipe smoker poses for the camera. The people stand bunched together looking at something out of frame. A few more people stand chatting. A man ticks off something in his notepad as he looks at something out of frame. A car truly packed full of people passes the camera along a small road followed by a few other cars- one or two reframes in between.
A man stands as three sit and enjoy a picnic, they eat and drink from a basket. Crowds of people make their way around the grounds. A nun stands by a cannon as a few people pass behind her. Dozens of people sit at tables as tea (or something similar) is brought to them by a woman. A suited man looks into the camera and takes notes regarding something unseen. Brief wide shot of police standing at a motor car. Closer shot, the motorist is waved on. Closer still, a man on a motorbike has his details checked. Reverse angle, a motorbike with two passengers are being spoken to by the police, change of angle as we see the woman search through some papers to produce them for the officer. The police move on and hassle another motor car owner.
Back to New Ways- we see that the gargoyle from before is in fact a hunched over monkey when shown from the other side- it is an amusing sculpture to look at. Mrs. Bassett-Lowke is in another close-up with her cat, who soon runs off after some provocation. We see another female smell the roses at the top of the stairs leading down to the garden. Close-up of Mrs. Bassett-Lowke sat on a deck chair looking through something. Large wooden doors are opened up by a female, revealing the entrance to their home. Mr. Bassett-Lowke is watering his garden with a hose, he acts surprised that the camera is watching him and he spays water towards it.
Just a few frames of Mrs. Bassett-Lowke fixing something to lapel of a man. A diagram titled "street plan" with details of St. Giles street, St. Giles square, Derngate and prudential buildings. Close-up now stating "new buildings". Brief shot of what is possibly the prudential building on the corner. Back to the first diagram. And then to a close-up. Title: "Some interesting public buildings". A man milks a cow as it is chained to a railing. An aerial shot of fields and clumps of woodland. Some kind of mansion or house. More aerial shots of fields. A light aircraft takes off in a field. A shot of it coming to a stop, we see the marking on the plane: G - AAIC, people get out of it. Closer shot, everyone is stood around chatting. Three Canada geese are at the waters edge. Other geese and a swan lurk around the pond. Mr. Bassett-Lowke at his splicing table, it looks like he is fixing some leader to it.
Title: "Boot and shoe making". Across the room we see a cobbler (or shoemaker) working on a shoe in a room laden with tools. A close-up of some finished shoes on a triangular revolving display, the shoes hung by their heels on the top corner. A woman places the shoes vary carefully into a box with paper laid between the shoes. A track across the variety of shoes that have been made, all with a bright and shiny finish. Brief shot of shoe triangle again. Title: "iron foundry" - "making model railway ships and engines". An upside down title: "The county hall, a 17th century building where the assizes and quarter sessions are held". Title: "The site of the castle is now occupied by castle station LMS railway, London in 1.1/4 hours". A sluggish steam train leaves a platform. So does another only much faster.
Various shots of an inexplicable pageant or play with people in stylised costumes marching about across various shots. The story seems to be about a king who is offering a £10,000 prize award if anyone can make him shiver. One man tries putting ice cream down the back of his neck. Various crackpots attempt to make him shiver by various means- the last one being a thin lady dressed in chequered skirt who reveals to then king some cubist style painting.
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