Title ID 3221Collection ID519
TitleThe Den School (Sudley Cottage)
CollectionStaley Family
Genre/TypeAmateurFamily Home MovieNon-fictionFamily Life
ThemeFashion Family Life
KeywordsChildren Games Girl Guides Performing Arts Schools Sport Youth Organizations Clothing Fashion Dresses Fancy dress Uniforms Education
LocalBognor Regis
RegionalWest Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionRalph Staley
CameraRalph Staley
ParticipantsPam Staley (daughter)
FormatBlack & White Silent
Duration11 min. 40 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Film by Ralph Staley of activities at his daughter Pam's girls school in Bognor. Girls perform a "health and fitness" style exercise display and show their gymnastic skills at jumping over a vaulting horse. A group of Girl Guides perform a ceremony and are awarded badges; they pose for a photo and play a whispering game. The girls then hold a costumed performance for the parents.


This film opens with schoolgirls performing a physical training demonstration sat on the grass. The girls also jump over and perform gymnastic exercises from a pommel horse via a spring board, guided by the games mistress. The group then leave the grass field in a line joined by male classmates and stand for a group portrait.

A group of Guides and Bownies parade in a circle around a union flag mounted on a short flagpole in the school grounds, led by their guiding leader. The girls are presented with badges. The girls state an oath to the group leader and raise a salute when they have finished. The group then stand for portraits and play a whispering game, passing a word or phrase to the girl next to them.

The next section shows an open air theatre production or series of dance performances with a Tudor style theme, whist friends and family watch. A group of young boys and girls play percussion instruments conducted by a younger girl, as they return to their classroom. The third performance is from another group of children dressed as medieval peasants and townsfolk dancing around another girl in a circle.

The final section of the film shows two women playing a game of tennis on a hard court dressed in tennis whites.


A still from 'The Den School - Sudley Cottage' (1934)

Contextual information

Fashion Notes: The film shows Brownies and guides in uniform. It also contains examples of children’s fancy dress and girls in exercise outfits.

Fashion keywords: dresses, fancy dress, neckties, uniforms

For further information see Screen Search Fashion online resource.

Related resources


Screen Search Fashion

This online resource provides a thematic guide for students interested in fashion and dress. The site offers pathways into aspects of fashion and dress as depicted in archive film from the inter-war period in the Screen Archive South East collections.