Title ID 1484Collection ID323
Title[School Project: Boats]
CollectionBurwood Park School
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurEducationalInstitutionalNon-fictionAlbum/Journal
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsSchools Children Boats Lakes Education Disabled Persons
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionBurwood Park School
CameraKerry Bromley
FormatColour Silent
Duration7 min. 55 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Form 1 boys at Burwood Park School for the Deaf in Walton-on-Thames design, build and test boats on the lake they have built from balsa wood in 1971. Much of the film is constituted of close-up footage of the boys' hands as they work through each stage of the project.


'It was decided that each form would do project work for all of Wednesday mornings. One Form 1 project was for each boy to design, build and test a boat built from balsa wood. This film shows the project from start to finish.'

Text written in chalk on a blackboard reads 'Problem No. 21: At first we shall draw a plan. Then each boy will make a boat. Then we test the boats on the lake to whose is the best one.' The hands of the boys are seen holding pencils, rubbers and rulers, in close up, drawing out their plans for the boats they will build. In panning footage, the boys are seen, heads down at their desks in a classroom. They are shown constructing the boats from balsa wood; cutting out the pieces with scalpels, warming the wood so it curves around the body of a steaming kettle, gluing the pieces together to assemble the boats, before sanding and varnishing the wood. One boy tests his boat for water resistance in a sink. Two others solder wires to the batteries and fix the propeller shafts. They place the boats in a bath tub, part-filled with water, to test the motors. A boy finishes his technical drawings, while another cuts a rudder from a piece of balsa wood. The finished boats are seen moving through the water of the lake, which reflects the trees around it. Nine of the boys hold up paper signs, which read 'The End' when they stand side by side in the correct order.


A colour still image taken from TID 1484, showing a boy sat at a table drawing a line with a ruler, to plan the boat he will make. A colour still image taken from TID 1484, showing a finished rectangular boat with rudder. made out of wood, floating along the river. The trees can be seen reflected in the water.

Contextual information

Burwood Park School was established in 1955 as an oral secondary boarding school for profoundly deaf boys by Lady Patricia Lennox-Boyd, who died in 2001. The building, a mansion in Burwood Park in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, was owned by a Guinness Family Trust before its conversion into a secondary school for 11 to 15 year old boys. Mr. Wood was the first Headmaster, and held his position until 1976. A film celebrating his time at the school, made on the occasion of his retirement, is also held by SASE. Many of the boys went on to further education or full time employment after leaving the school. Girls were accepted after 1981, but the school closed in 1996.

The school had an 8 mm film camera, flood lights, a film splicer and a film viewer. Any boy at the school could use the equipment, supervised by Mr. Sayer, a master at the school and the depositor of the school's archive to Surrey History Centre and SASE, between 2001 and 2009.

Related resources


Surrey History Centre

Records, microfilm and photographs deposited by Mr. Sayer between 2001 and 2009.


Old Burwoodian Association