Title ID 1649Collection ID203
Title[May Festival]
Date1968; 1969; 1970; 1972
KeywordsCarnivals Celebrations Children Clothing Cultural Heritage Dance Education Festivals Parades Schools
NationalEngland United Kingdom
FormatColour Silent
Duration15 min. 20 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A compilation of films made at Claygate Primary School to record their annual May Festival celebrations. Each year the May Queen and her 'court' in fancy dress are filmed as they make their way to the Queen's throne on the school sports field. Entertainment in the form of dancing and athletic demonstrations are performed by fellow pupils as parents and teachers look on.


1968 - The pupils of Claygate school are lined up in the playground in their May Festival fancy dress. The May Queen wears a white dress with a blue sash ribbon, and a blue cape. With the Queen at the head of the procession, the children parade onto the school sports ground where spectators are seated. The Queen and her assistants sit on thrones which have been arranged on a stage decorated with flowers. We see the crowning of the May Queen by another young girl and the festival entertainment begins. The children, wearing floral headdresses and costumes, perform country dancing as well as may pole dancing. There is an athletics demonstration in the form of running races, including a 'mum's race'. A boy and girl are seen holding a silver shield up to the camera. At the end of the festivities the May Queen and her attendants lead the procession from the school field. There are several more shots taken in the school playground of pairs and groups of children holding up plaques and shields to the camera, and one girl holds up some needlework. There is a brief shot of a young boy doing long-jump, and a group of boys on the grass with a rabbit and a hutch.

1969 - Once again we see the school pupils in the playground dressed for the May Festival procession. The May Queen leads the children on to the school field and is seated on the stage. A panning shot shows the rest of the school children seated on wooden chairs along the playing field. After the crowning of the Queen, we see country dancing. A close up of the Queen and assistants shows that the two front thrones are decorated with the words 'QUEEN' and '1969'. The children perform gymnastics including leapfrog, cartwheels and balancing on wooden beams. There is also scenes of may pole dancing. The children are seen in procession leaving the school field.

1970 - The opening shots show children on the school field helping to decorate in preparation for the May Festival. Many of the decorations are floral. We see the seats lined up ready for the parents and other spectators to arrive. The thrones are decorated in a similar floral design to previous years and read 'QUEEN' and '1970'. The Queen this year wears a white dress but no cape, and is crowned with a pink floral head band. Again we see children from the school perform country and may pole dancing. There is a brief shot of a male teacher making a speech. In the playground, a young boy and girl hold up a shield to the camera, followed by another pair holding up a cup. This section ends with shots of a music lesson in progress. Children are seen playing recorder, violin, cello and guitar.

1972 - Once again in a white dress with blue cape, this year's May Queen is seen at the head of the procession of children. They file onto the sports field where the children dance traditional country and may pole dances. The last shot shows the children leaving the field after the celebrations.