Film: 8073

Social History | 1940 | Sound | B/W


An online film clip is not available yet, please contact us for a viewing


Details the extended pre and post natal welfare services available to woman during World War Two. It was especially important to free women from child care because of the shift towards a female work force during the war years.

Shots of a woman in uniform acting as a switchboard operator for the fire service. Expectant mother attending Welfare Centre in Tottenham, London. Woman agrees to give birth at home with a midwife as she is expected to have a normal delivery. Mothers seen receiving baby food provisions. Pregnant woman having the size of her stomach measured with an enormous pair of callipers. Home help cleaning bowl. Woman anaesthetised to give birth. Aerial view of bomb damaged houses. Shot of Maternity Home for mothers resident in blitz affected areas. Mothers with their babies in the grounds of the home. Health visitor giving advice to new mum in private home. Baby in cot. Young mothers attending classes for instruction at the Welfare Centre. Baby being weighed in old style weighing machine and subsequently being examined by female doctor. Orange juice and cod liver oil being supplied to new mother. Children being given diphtheria immunisation by injection. When the child is seven months old the mother goes back to work. Mother in uniform leaves her child at a day nurse centre while she returns to her job. Exterior of prefabricated huts: children playing. Baby being fed, bathed, children cleaning their teeth at sinks, children on slide, mothers filing out of nursery entrance with prams.

At five years the children go to junior school. The example given is Middlesex County Council Junior School where children are seen receiving regular medical examinations: boy with shirt off and doctor with stethoscope. Outdoor exercises: aerial view of children lying in rows on their backs and lifting their legs in the air; shot from ground level of children queuing to jump off a chair (some are wearing only shorts); children jumping in unison over low ropes. School children drinking milk through straws out of bottles. Hearty school meal including vegetable, meat and potato ('no child has the risk of under nourishment'). Large dining hall full of children. School nurse visiting: a boy is selected from a class and his arm is massaged with an electrical instrument. Children sleep. Another sits in front of a 'sun ray' light wearing black goggles to protect his eyes. Geography lesson to an all girl class. Female teacher in front of black board. Boys in shorts balancing on beam in a fully equipped school gymnasium. Boys jumping over vaulting horse in gym, two boys assisting other boys as they do hands stands over the vaulting horse. Boys in woodwork class. Girls in home economics class: they watch teacher cutting pastry; they wash clothes in large tubs agitated by big sticks; a girl takes her buns out of the oven; another is ironing. Boys playing cricket on the playing field. Naked boys running into steaming showers. Boys and girls running, swimming, jumping and diving in an outdoor public swimming pool. Bush House, a school for 'crippled and delicate children'. Classes are held outside. Children in dining room (they are all wearing odd white hats). All children stand at the command of a female teacher. They blow their noses at the command of the teacher. They then begin the 'nose drill': deep breathing exercises through each nostril in turn. Children being weighed and measured. Children exercising outside. Children in class that is being taught by a female teacher outside. Children outside school for evacuees in Godalming, Surrey. Boys digging in garden. Girls skipping while teacher plays the violin (badly). Boys exercising in rows (no shirts, shorts only). Game of Hockey (unisex). Boys with a male pointing and pipe smoking teacher in the countryside. Boys making model aeroplanes; boys playing chess; girls sewing; boy applying stage make-up; children performing acrobatics with hoops. A teacher laughing with children. Two children acting out the relationship between lion tamer and lion in front of an audience. Girl doing gymnastics in front of the same audience. Boy taking off stage make-up.

To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 8073.