Title ID 1528Collection ID477
TitleReigate Carnival
Date1928, 1935
CollectionNorth Downs Film Unit
Genre/TypeAmateurCine/Video clubNon-fictionActuality/Factual
ThemeTransport Commemoration
KeywordsFood Transport Motor Vehicles Performing Arts Fancy dress Hats Children Charities Carnivals Parades Street Trading Roads Bicycles
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionNorth Downs Cinematograph Society
FormatBlack & White Silent
Duration13 min. 16 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Scenes filmed at Reigate Carnival in 1928 and 1935 by members of the North Downs Cinematograph Society. Elaborate floats and fancy dress costumes feature throughout.


A sign above a sausage stall reads "Hark the herald angels sing, Burton is the sausage king." "All good nuts", reads another. A crowd has gathered in the street. Some are in fancy dress; a group of young women are dressed as pirates. A number of young men, dressed as cave men, stand atop a float. "The Fairy Soap Chatterbox" is written across a van. Men stand beside a car decorated with foliage. A Hovis van joins the parade. Two men dressed as mice and one as a dog stand on a float raising money for charity. An elaborate advertisement float is seen. Other floats are decorated with sets and props; a castle, fishing net, woodland hut scene, biplane and a float for Jaeger, "wool specialists" are seen. The parade is seen from the crowd. Participants in the parade wear costumes and face paint, some have darkened faces. Carts, motorcycles and side cars, bicycles, pedestrians, cars and floats pass along the parade route, flanked by standing spectators. A band passes, squeezed onto a float together. Three women stand atop a "Nichols for Hosiery" float, modeling stockings. A group of men wear conical Chinese straw hats. Children are dressed up in pierrot costumes and period costumes, others are decorated with lanterns and flowers. The carnival queen sits on an elevated and decorated throne. A marching band passes before her float. Walking participants wear an eclectic mix of costumes, some sport signs around their necks announcing their prizes. Further floats are seen, including a car decorated with ivy, sets of tables and chairs on which participants play characters. Men throw balloons to members of the crowd, who reach up to take them. Women pose in a bathroom setting on a float for Hall & Co. Gas "for abundant hot water." On another, an old couple sit up in bed wearing nightclothes.

Contextual information

For later footage of Reigate Carnival see [Borough of Reigate Centenary Film] (1963), also produced by members of the North Downs Cinematograph Society. The 50 minute film details events held during the centenary celebrations of Reigate's local government. Marching bands in uniform, floats, the carnival queen in a tiara, horse and cart, women in bikinis standing on a float, participants dressed as dogs in a schoolroom, mermaids, and The Clarendon Players are among the participants seen from an elevated position. Starting at Reigate Heath, the carnival continues down to Redhill, passing spectators lining the streets.

Further, footage of Reigate Carnival in 1926 and 1927 is included in [Reigate Borough Carnival] produced by J. Bancroft of the Hippodrome Cinema. See [Reigate Carnival] (1930, 1933) for footage of 1930 and 1933, produced by the North Downs Cinematograph Society. Screen Archive South East holds a number of factual films, homes movies, actuality footage and fiction films, produced by members of the NDCS from the 1920s to the early 1980s.

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Related resources


Surrey History Centre

The Surrey History Service collects and preserves archives and printed material relating to all aspects of the history of Surrey. The Centre also has a selection of films from the Screen Archive South East, and its collections catalogue is searchable online.


Screen Search Fashion: Fancy Dress

Clips and information concerning inter-war leisure activities in the South East.

Screen Search Fashion: Carnivals and Pageants

Clips and information concerning inter-war leisure activities in the South East.