Infant Tribute, Eastbury Infants' School
Standard 8mm film Colour Silent 1950s 29:11
Summary: Film on the life of Eastbury Infants' School, largely set in the playground, where various games and activities take place. Also registration, assembly and presentation day (leaving do) for the headmistress, Miss E.H Whittenbury.
Title number: 19444
Description: Blue title card - hands place a pink rose by the title, "infant tribute", spelled out in colourful plastic letters. The hands open to imitate leaves, and fall away. Similar upper-case letters spell out that the film was made during Miss E.H Whittenbury's last term as headmistress at Eastbury Infants' School and is presented "with affection and the hope that it will recall happy memories".
Pan along the railings (behind which children are playing in the playground), past three women and a boy, all in summer clothes, walking towards the school. A young girl walks along the pavement beside the railings, wearing a brown and yellow school blazer over a brown and white checked dress. Close-ups of the school crest on her blazer pocket, moving up to show her face. She pauses for the camera, then passes through the school gate. Three boys dressed in shorts and carrying satchels, walk along the railings outside the school, past three women having a chat. Close-up of brick work and a window, then a stone engraved lintel saying "Infants". The shot tilts down to Miss Whittenbury, in a smart navy outfit with white spots, smiling as she waits in the doorway.
Women, wearing summer dresses or skirts, gather along the railings outside the school, some with young children, a few with baby strollers or a pram. Shots of the legs of children as they walk, run or hop through the school gate, some idling in the doorway for a moment, and then as they walk in the playground. Children running, standing, dancing or strolling in the playground, near the climbing frame and other equipment, in front of the school buildings. None are in uniform, so there is a variety of summer clothing. Boys have fun on the climbing frame. Children play various playground games. One of three seated girls throws up a dice, with a close-up of another wistful-looking child in the foreground.
Miss Whittenbury walks towards the camera down an outside corridor, then turns and rings a brass handbell. The children stand motionless in the playground, then a group walk towards the headmistress and the school buildings. Women and a couple of younger children wait around the gate, a couple of them waving goodbye. Children file past Miss Whittenbury, in close-up. She turns and walks towards the camera. The children go into a classroom, initially two-by-two. Inside, some mill around near the door while others go to their desks and open their books. Close-up of the teacher's arm, as she marks the register, the shot tilting and panning to show the children quietly reading their books, beneath art work on the walls.
Dark grey title card with red borders - "ASSEMBLY" in white, with a shining Christian cross and black rays which light up in golden yellow. Children come out of the classroom in single-file carrying chairs, then turn off the outside corridor into a hall, revealing a teacher in the classroom doorway. They move to the far side of the hall, turn, put down their chairs and sit in rows. Miss Whittenbury enters. The camera pans to show the children in front of her, who stand and recite in unison, at her instruction. Panning close-ups of the children, heads generally bowed, eyes closed, and hands folded in prayer. Back views of seated children as Miss Whittenbury plays the piano. Panning side view of children (one, according to her sister is probably Barbara Guy), and of Miss Whittenbury reading aloud.
Red title card with blue decoration and brown inset box saying "AGARS ATHLETIC ANGELS" in plastic letters. Shot moves across a display of children's pictures of gymnastics, slightly out of focus, with relevant captions - "I like doing this" etc., ending on "I can do a forward somersault". Gym/P.E activities in the playground, supervised by a teacher (Miss or Mrs Agar): Four children in turn do forward somersaults on a pale brown gym mat in front of a lavender bed; then a line of children run towards the mat, do forward somersaults and re-join the line. Children throw balls up and catch them (in long shot), then a close-up of one ball-throwing girl. Children try to jump a hurdle, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. They hop, jump, and waddle forwards in a crouched position. They stand, then stretch their arms and legs out, a few falling over in the process. Ms Agar helps a young boy who has been injured, while others gather around. The children, the teacher and the injured boy go back to the building.
Black intertitle card saying "RIGHT AT THE TOP WITH ROTHERHAM" in plastic letters, set in a 3-D white portico design against a pale blue background. In the playground, children scramble to the top of rope net and pole climbing equipment. They climb up and down ropes; and walk along planks, jumping stool-tops on the way. They swing from a horizontal ladder, until a young girl falls, bringing down a boy who has reached the frame. They are seen, from different angles, walking tentatively across the top of the horizontal ladder. They do somersaults on, climb and do handstands against horizontal bars. They try to jump hurdles again.
Children's hands reach down to pick individual bottles of silver-top milk from a crate. They sit at their desks drinking with straws, as boys play in the playground behind. As they finish, children return empty bottles to the crate. Two pick up the filled crate, place it on a trolley and wheel it out of the classroom door, the shot resting on a group of children in the playground beyond as they organise themselves to play circle games. One girl weaves in and out of arches created by the children in the circle (perhaps "In and Out the Dusty Bluebells"). Another girl stands in the centre of the skipping circle with her eyes closed (perhaps "Blind man's Bluff"). Meanwhile, other children can be seen in the background and to the side, playing similar games or just hanging around. Two girls sit on a step, while a couple of teachers look out of the window behind. A row of children sit on a step, while a boy stands to the side. A girl holds a doll, which is being admired by one of her two friends. A boy plays five stones, watched by three friends sitting cross-legged on the tarmac and a larger standing group. A girl jumps a skipping rope, a boy does a little dance for the camera, and a group of girls play a game (perhaps the end of "In and Out the Dusty Bluebells"). Two girls sit on the tarmac making a picture from felt figures, watched by a group of boys, and another circle game begins. A girl follows a teacher through the playground, passing behind the busy climbing frame and a couple of boys carrying a friend.
Miss Whittenbury walks through the busy playground to join a group of teachers
drinking tea. One leaves briefly, and shortly afterwards a woman arrives with tea for Miss Whittenbury. Close-up of two teachers. Children play piggy-back in the playground. A teacher walks towards the camera, surrounded by a group of children, then waves them off to play. Another teacher begins a circle game with a large group of children, while others play behind. Children race towards the camera. Children play skipping games in pairs. A boy crouching by a wall hands small items to his friends.
A black title card in a white and blue decorated frame says "THE CLASS WITHOUT" in colourful plastic letters. The centre lifts to show a picture of a man peering over a brick wall with the message "WHAT! NO MISS JAGGARD?". Behind a border of flowers, children begin to paint on easels set up in an outside corridor.
While the children paint, others garden in the foreground, using spades, a watering can and a small red wheelbarrow. A boy paints smoke billowing from the funnel of a large boat.
A black title card in red and blue frames says "TOTS, TOYS AND TIBBENHAM" in colourful plastic letters. In the playground, various activities take place e.g. a girl rides a tricycle, two girls dress up from a clothes box, a boy and girl collect bricks on a trolley. One of the dressing-up girls walks towards the camera wearing a long pink and green flowered robe and a flowery circlet, while a friend holds her flowing train. Children fish with magnets in a plastic tub full of water. Two girls make sandcastles in a sand box using buckets and spades. Boys with hammers tack together wooden constructions at a woodwork table, one wearing a large top hat. A girl and two boys stack bricks from a large painted wooden box and a trolley. The shot pans to show model houses; boys knocking down wood, swinging on ropes, and doing woodwork; and children climbing the ladder to a small slide behind. A boy walks past a girl who has a doll in a pram. The shot tilts to show another boy playing with model houses, then wanders up towards the slide. Three girls circle round, climbing up and sliding down the small slide, the shot panning past various children and a box of wood. A gollywog and other toys lie in a toy cot, the shot panning to show a girl playing with a tea set by a toy dresser, and another "doing washing" with a toy washboard, while two boys stand watching behind. Boys climb ropes.
A shot scans along long rows of children, with three members of the teaching staff. They wave. The line breaks up, and the children run towards the (unseen) camera.
Red title card with "presentation day guests" written in colourful plastic letters on a petrol-blue oval. Smartly-dressed guests walk through the playground - now used as a school car park, full of grey cars - either alone, in couples, or small groups. A couple wave and talk to the (unseen) camera and a couple of other men as they leave. Some pose for portrait shots by a grey car (I think, an Austin A40 Cambridge): a woman in a blue-striped dress hurries to hold hands with a younger woman in blue and white; a larger group includes two women, a man and a young boy; then two men in black suits, one of them a vicar. A woman carries a pile of books from the building, as she hurries to catch up with the vicar. Panned close-ups of a group, including a gentleman with a moustache who is talking - perhaps making a presentation speech. A woman hurries across Dawson Ave, carrying a briefcase; as a man in shirt, trousers and braces walks on the pavement. Miss Whittenbury - dressed in a white suit with black trim and spots, and with three pink flowers in her buttonhole - briefly takes the hand of an older lady, as she leads a group of guests away from the building. Pan across the group; and then portraits of various members of the group, as others mill around in the background, finishing with Miss Whittenbury talking to three other ladies. Miss Whittenbury shakes hands with one woman; then accompanies another a little way. A man with a white preaching-band collar sits in the driving seat of a shiny grey car, inside the railings. At his request, a young woman in a grey flowery dress and small white feathery hat hurries to pose happily by the car, and then beckons Miss Whittenbury, who joins her, smiling. By the time that an older lady in a grey flowery dress and pale green hat walks through the playground, only a few vehicles are still parked. In the background Miss Whittenbury chats to the car driver from the previous shot. Miss Whittenbury talks to the lady in the pale green hat; then hurries back to chat with a couple of others, shown in close-up. More portrait shots, including two ladies holding hands with a rather restless young girl in a green and white stripy dress. The girl poses with her arm resting on a grey car. Pan across seven ladies, one seated in a car behind the other six, ending on Miss Whittenbury. Pan across six younger women, the waitresses, in grey aprons and waitress hats.
A man (perhaps the film-maker, Jim Dodd) sits in an armchair at home, reading a presentation document which expresses the hope that "you will always look back on today, July 21st, with much pleasure", "remember the good old days with much happiness" and offering "love and good wishes for the future". A woman (his wife, presumably) arrives, looks at the document, then a dunce's cap materialises, which she places on his head. She sits on his lap, then turns the cap to read "The End". They both pose for the camera.
There are brief incidental views during the film of neighbouring houses, vehicles and occasional cyclists on Dawson Avenue.
Credits: Film maker: Jim Dodd (of Shirley Gardens, Barking)
Keywords: Schools; Children; play; Exercise; playgrounds; retirement; Children's activity
Locations: United Kingdom; England; London; Barking; Eastbury