Title ID 5245Collection ID728
Title[Broadstairs Annual Dickens Festival 1959 and 1960]
Date1959 - 1960
CollectionEnid Briggs pt2
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionCommunity
ThemeCommemoration Seaside
KeywordsBuildings Celebrations Cultural Heritage Festivals Local History Seaside Resorts Fancy dress Clothing
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionEnid Briggs
CameraEnid Briggs
FormatColour Silent
Duration15 min. 50 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Sequences of Broadstairs Annual Dickens Festival of participants dressed in period costume and spectators filmed by Enid Briggs in 1959 and 1960, shot mainly at Bleak House.


The film's opening title reads "Broadstairs has many associations with Charles Dickens". The first scene, "Bleak House. From the Jetty", includes shots of seashore, cliffs, waves and diving seagulls. A large house is seen first from the beach and then close up, focussing on a sculpted portrait of Charles Dickens in high-relief and a gate on which a sign reads "Bleak House".

A sequence titled "1959 Broadstairs Annual Dickens Festival" and "Residents wearing Victorian and Dickensian costume were about town. A Victorian lady and Miss Pross start out" follows. A woman is filmed showing off her period costume in front of a house, followed by another who poses and walks towards the camera.

A banner over a street reads "Dickens Festival" and the Bohemia Theatre advertises "Nicholas Nickleby", presented by Dickens Players and produced by Joan Taylor. Further participants seen walking and talking together dressed in period costume are assembled in front of a stagecoach. A woman smiles while standing by the gate of "Dickens House". "The Garden Party Bleak House" follows. Betsey Trotwood, Miss Pross, Miss Flite, Jo, The Crossing Sweeper, The Tuggs Family, Dog and Bill Sykes, Beadle and Oliver Twist, Dragoons, Clergyman, Riding Lady and others are amongst the assembly. Participants are shown talking to one another and performing in character while spectators sit and watch from deck chairs and a band with violinist plays behind. "Victorian ladies and escorts on the sand" depicts an assembled group of participants in period costume are shown talking to one another by the sea.

Shots of Bleak House open the sequence titled "Dickens Festival 1960. Bleak House Garden Party" in which "The Union Jack flag flutters in the breeze. March past of Dickensian and Victorian characters. Mr Eade leads down the the judges."

Scenes of a parade of participants dressed in period costume and spectators in deck chairs follow. The parade features many popular Dickensian characters and people of note that includes Betsy Trotwood, H.M Queen Victoria, Mrs Nickleby, a Victorian gentleman, Bill Sykes and Oliver Twist, Sarah Garap, a Sea Captain, a Victorian lady, mother and her children, a Victorian family, Mr Pickwick and friends, Scrooge and Tiny Tim, Mr Wardle, Grandfather and Little Nell.

A banner between two houses reads "Dickens Festival". A group of musicians is seen playing behind a bust of Dickens in the garden. Further scenes of participants are shown walking, bowing and curtseying, including a parade of children dressed in period costume. "The End".


A colour still image taken from TID 5245, showing a group of people dressed in Victorian attire whilst gathered on the beach at Broadstairs. Five women are dressed in full Victorian day dresses with corsets, stays and under skirts whilst sat on deck chairs. Two men, one in a red tunic guards uniform and the other as a stylised upper class gentleman, stand behind the ladies looking down at them, chatting as they stand. Several of the ladies are holding sun parasols and all are wearing wide brim hats or bonets.

Contextual information

The Broadstairs Dickens Festival takes place annually in the third week of June. As owner of the Dickens House, Gladys Waterer established the festival in 1937 to commemorate the centenary of the author's first visit to the town. A production of David Copperfield was put on, and participants dressed in period costume to publicise it.

See [Broadstairs Annual Dickens Festival. 1962 + 1963] (5247) for film of the annual Dickens Festivals in 1962 and 1963. For early film of the annual Dickens Festival see [Broadstairs & St. Peter's Items] (1023).

Related titles

Related resources


Broadstairs Dickens Festival

An annual festival held in Broadstairs, Kent to celebrate the life and work of Charles Dickens.