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Glynis & David's Party 1955

13m 31s


A delightful family film of Glynis's and David's birthday parties in 1955, showing the children's celebrations, generous birthday spreads and parlour games of the era.

A beautifully decorated pink and blue birthday cake with eight candles is the centrepiece of a table ladled with celebration cakes and treats. The birthday girl Glynis stands with a group of her friends before the camera. The children are now at the table, celebrating; some are wearing party hats. They pull faces at the camera and sing. Glynis's grandfather (John but called Jack) is seen in profile eating. The party is in the living room of the family home and the mantelpiece has a number of birthday cards on it. Glynis's mother, who is very smartly dressed, is topping up the orange squash for the children and a neighbour is handing round a plate of sandwiches with the crusts cut off, which are taken and enjoyed by the children. Glynis's brothers David and Alan are in neat white shirts with green and purple paper hats, sitting next to their grandfather who is also very smartly dressed in a suit and tie sitting next to a small boy in a purple hat. He looks slightly bemused by the antics of the children, or perhaps is keeping a watchful eye on the boys!

A plate of sausage rolls are handed around, and a young girl wearing a distinctive blue and patterned sleeve dress carefully selects one from the plate.

An elegant young woman wearing a sleeveless blouse and distinctive purple and blue scarf tends to the children and sits by a wooden dresser.

The children are absorbed eating the party lunch and the adults join in. A smartly dressed younger man with a moustache joins the elegant woman sitting by the dresser, and smiles and talks to someone off-camera.

The birthday girl Glynis is in a white party dress and orange hat and held up by her father to blow out the birthday candles. She smiles and purses her lips, getting ready to blow out the candles, and after three attempts they are all out!

Mrs Lawford carefully cuts the cake and reaches over the shoulder of her daughter, while plates are offered for pieces of the cake.

The children are now playing a number of parlour games, including 'Farmers in the den' and 'Blind man's bluff'. Glynis and her brothers David and Alan are in the middle of the group, and a young girl who appears a little shy sits with her mother while the games take place.

The man with the moustache that we saw earlier ties a black and white scarf around Glynis's eyes and she is twirled around. She then tentatively approaches a number of the children to play blind man's bluff.

David's sixth birthday! A beautiful pink, blue and white birthday cake with six candles is on a table with party food. The table is elegantly laid out with napkins, birthday hats, and straws.

Sandwiches are handed around to a group of children who studiously eat them at the table. A young boy is helped to eat a cocktail sausage by the grandfather (seen at the previous birthday party) who tenderly drapes an arm around his shoulder. The cocktail sausages are very popular as they are handed around and the children seem to want more!

Three women, including Mrs Lawford, are in the background sitting on the sofa, drinking tea. Orange squash and water are served to the children to help them wash down the party food! David is drinking through a straw.

The children try to pull their party crackers, in a cross-arm format, which causes some confusion and a lot of fun. Glynis is organising the crackers at her end of the table.

A young girl with a red hat and a silk bow grimaces as she gets ready to pull the cracker and laughs as she gets the short end! The crackers are proving very resilient as a number of children attempt to pull but can't quite break the paper.

The paper hats are distributed by Glynis's mother, and she helps pop the hats onto the children's heads. The children play with the contents of the crackers. One girl reads a joke, and Glynis perches a false moustache expertly on her top lip, as her mum continues to make sure the children have their hats on.

Glynis's mother pops a party hat on the head of the younger man with a moustache seen in an earlier shot, and smiles as his attempt to avoid being crowned fails. He then entertains the children.

The candles are lit on the cake and David is poised and ready to blow them out. As everyone sings Happy Birthday to him, he successfully blows out the candles, coughs and then cuts into the cake with his mother's help.

The children play a number of party games including 'Farmers in the Den', 'Tug of War', 'Ring a Ring o' Roses' and 'Blind man's Bluff'. A coal fire is burning in the fireplace, and two women join in the singing of the songs. Mr Lawford can be seen in this section playing with the children, and is caught in the middle of a tug of war game!

A budgerigar is taken from a cage and perches on a hand. The grandfather carefully rolls a cigarette which he lights and smokes, and the bird enters its cage and pops back on its perch.

Further information

From the Lawford family films collection. Three siblings are featured, David, Alan and Glynis. Mr Lawford worked for Kodak.

The crackers were especially kept aside from Christmas for David's party. The Lawford children are dressed in immaculate clothes handmade by Mrs Lawford, who was a trained dressmaker.


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David Lawford; Alan Lawford; Glynis Lawford, Mr Lawford; Mrs Lawford;


United Kingdom; England; London; Harrow


Archive name Format LSA ID Archive's identifier Sound
Harrow Local History Library 16mm film LSA26107 Mute
Available from Harrow Local History Library on 16mm film
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