Monday, 15 July 2013

Film of 1930s Birmingham school life found

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Film of 1930s Birmingham school life found

To Birmingham (via Suffolk/Norfolk) in 1935 we go now, thanks to this recently-discovered footage of the Saltey School, Birmingham - found in that establishment's library archive while an 85th anniversary celebration was being arranged.

The footage contains remarkable images of 1930s school life including P.E. classes and summer holiday camps, with happy smiling children (and teachers!) seemingly enjoying breaks to the Suffolk/Norfolk countryside.  Perhaps more noticeable, to our modern eyes, is the synchronised movement that formed part of the school's physical education.  A healthy and coordinated body was held up very highly as an ideal in 1930s, as so many documentary films of large groups of men and women exercising in perfect harmony go to show (and not to mention its ultimate perversion into the idea of eugenics), but there is something startlingly immediate and mesmeric in seeing a class of young children running, jumping and bending in perfect unison.

Today's Saltey School pupils certainly appear to have found this glimpse into the past an impressive one, with considered comments and opinions aired.  The unearthing of this cinefilm looks to be a welcome addition to Saltey's 85th birthday celebrations and I'm very pleased to see it take pride of place in the annals of the school's history after having lain dormant for so long.


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