Detail

Title ID 1025Collection ID823
TitleWesterham Gala Day
DateMay 1959
CollectionNevison
Genre/TypeProfessionalIndependent Artist/Film-makerNon-fictionActuality/Factual
ThemeCommemoration
KeywordsBicycles Carnivals Dance Fetes Games Leisure Time Activities Parades Racing
Location
LocalWesterham
RegionalKent
NationalEngland United Kingdom
Credits
ProductionA. Nevison
DirectorA. Nevison
Commissioning bodyThe Sevenoaks Chronicle and The Tudor Cinema
ParticipantsChristine Barnard; Eileen Joyce; Sandra Mew; Rosemary Saw; Diana Terry; Keith Tickle; Suzette Tickle
Format35mm Black & White Silent
Duration10 min. 45 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details

Summary

Whitsun Monday Gala Day in Westerham. A carnival procession is followed by sports and games in the park.

Description

The carnival procession begins with the participants gathering at the village green. A little girl dressed as Grace Kelly sits on her swan-shaped sleigh pulled by a dog wearing a hat. Scenes of children dressed in fancy dress and costume. There are shots of folk dancers, a man and woman judging the children’s fancy dress, a woman flower-seller, a family dressed as fairies, pirates and ballet dancers. Some of the men fool about for the camera. Two women are photographed by a press photographer. Crowds line the streets and watch Diana Terry, the Carnival Queen, being crowned by classical pianist Eileen Joyce; she joins the procession on a horse-drawn float. A traffic policeman directs traffic through the crowded street. Two little boys in the crowd eat ice creams. The crowd waves as the procession approaches. A marching band leads the parade, followed by the Gala Queen’s float. Elevated views of the procession passing the General James Wolfe statue. The variety of costumes include people dressed as convicts, a man with his head under his arm, a man in a bath, a man in drag on a bike and historical military scenes. Children drink pop from bottles. The Gala Queen awards prizes to the children in fancy dress. Scenes of people sitting on the Green; men with donkeys standing behind them. A little boy eats a sandwich, a little girl drinks pop from a bottle. Crowds gather in a field for the afternoon’s sports and games. A tug-of-war contest is followed by children’s races. A man with a starter pistol starts the men’s race. There is a shot of race officials making notes. A large group of runners set off on a cross-country race. Another tug-of-war contest takes place. People take part in a game with wheelbarrows and water. The winner of the cross-country race crosses the finishing line. Shots of the men’s obstacle race. Two boys on a log have a pillow fight. The men’s 100 yard dash. Towards the end of the afternoon people sleep in the sun. A shot of litter caught up in a fence depicts the end of the day.

Stills

A Still from 'Westerham Gala Day' (1959) showing a tug of war match

Contextual information

[Westerham Gala Day] (May 1959) was directed by A. Nevison of the Sevenoaks Chronicle. The film was commissioned by the local newspaper, in conjunction with Westerham's Tudor Cinema. The Tudor Cinema was a small, privately owned cinema which was in existence from the early 1930s till the late 1960s, at which time it was destroyed by fire. The cinema was run by Mr W.N. Biley and his son Clive, seated approximately 200 people and typically had three changes of films every week. [Westerham Gala Day] (May 1959) was a film of topical interest which was probably only shown at The Tudor Cinema - it attracted a local audience keen to see itself on screen.

Processions and parades are a consistent theme for amateur and professional film-makers alike. Other films featuring carnival processions, parades and gala days in Screen Archive South East’s collection include Egerton May Festivals (1930s), [Festival of Britain at Whitstable and Other Year Events] (1951), At the Sign of the Ram and Gate (1957) and Chichester Gala (1981).

Related titles

Related resources

Collections

Kent History and Library Centre

Manuscript and printed records for the County of Kent including books, pamphlets, maps, illustrations and microfilm, reflecting Kent's local history.
http://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/history-and-heritage/kent-history-and-library-centre

Local Studies Collection, Sevenoaks Library

The Local Studies Collection at Sevenoaks Library also incorporates Westerham.
http://www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/services/leisure-and-culture/local-history-and-heritage

Further Information on File at Screen Archive South East

Screen Archive South East has a copy of the souvenir programme produced for the 1959 Westerham Gala Day on file which details the day's schedule and provides participants' names.

Reel Life

An extract of this film appears on the Reel Life DVD, available to view at Higher and Further Education college libraries, schools’ libraries, local libraries and record offices.