Title ID 1020Collection ID56
TitleThe Main Bay
Date1937 - 1939
CollectionEnid Briggs pt1
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionActuality/Factual
KeywordsBeaches Boats Children Entertainment Horticulture Leisure Time Activities Performing Arts Seaside Resorts Swimming Theatre
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionEnid Briggs
CameraEnid Briggs
ParticipantsW. Goodliff (First Prize, potato contest)
FormatBlack & White Silent
Duration10 min.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Scenes filmed by Enid Briggs centering around seaside entertainment and activities in Broadstairs. Items filmed include beach activities, Uncle Mack's Minstrels performing on stage, a prize crop of Potatoes and boating from the Jetty.


The film opens with the title "The Main Bay" and shows scenes of Broadstairs' main beach, 'Viking Bay', including people swimming in the sea, boys diving from a platform into the sea, and boats in the water. Enid's sister Phyllis Briggs is filmed swimming and waving to the camera. A group of women, including Phyllis, take seats on deck chairs in the audience to watch a show of 'Uncle Mack's Minstrels' on stage on Broadstairs sands. On the stage, the five minstrels with 'blackface' makeup and clown outfits, play instruments and perform a song and dance routine. Further shots of activity on the beach include, rowing boats dropping off passengers on the shore and people diving into the water.

A title announces "'White Night' on the Jetty" - this is an evening performance on Broadstairs jetty of Uncle Mack's minstrels without their usual 'blackface' makeup. The minstrels mingle with people waiting for the performance. Another title "Heavy Weight Potatoes, crops grown from six potatoes" opens a section showing prize winning potatoes at a local allotment being dug up and shown to the camera. A final title says "Shrove Tuesday. A local custom is free boating". A large group of boys, from Holy Trinity School Broadstairs, in school uniform run along the jetty towards the rowing boats. The boats, now full of children are filmed on the water. Groups of children are filmed getting on on the boats, and waving at the camera.


A still from The Main Bay (1937-1939)A still from 'The Main Bay' (1937-1939) showing men with a prize potato cropA still from The Main Bay (1937-1939)

Contextual information

Uncle Mack’s Minstrels were an integral part of the Broadstairs summer entertainment in the early part of the twentieth century. In 1911 Uncle Mack’s Minstrels were voted the most popular troupe of the British Seaside resorts. Now considered unacceptable as a form of entertainment, black-faced entertainers were a popular act in the 1930s and were often seen at seaside resorts where the additional character of ‘Uncle’ befriended children and encouraged them to take part in singing and dancing competitions. It is thought that film-maker Enid Briggs was a friend of Uncle Mack’s (real name James Henry Summerson); he and his troupe appear in many of her local topical films. Enid Briggs’ films were edited together at a later date (by others), consequently these films now appear out of chronological order.

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