Title ID 5769Collection ID799
TitleThey Built It Themselves
Date1969 - 1972
KeywordsBuilding Construction Buildings Charities Children Dance Education Religious Festivals Schools Youth Youth Organizations National Dress
LocalSedlescombe Beaulieu
RegionalEast Sussex Hampshire
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionErroll Christie
CameraAlan Maycock
Commissioning bodyPestalozzi International Village Trust
WriterErroll Christie
NarratorErroll Christie
Other creditsForeword and epilogue by Richard Baker
FormatColour Sound
Duration17min. 58sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A promotional film about the work of the Pestalozzi Children's Village, Sedlescombe. Richard Baker introduces the film with the aim of raising funds for, and awareness of, Pestalozzi. The children are filmed helping to construct a new national house to accommodate new arrivals at the village. At the end of the film Richard Baker makes an appeal for donations.


The film opens with shots of a country road from a moving car, accompanied by music. Sign: “Sedlescombe”, fingerpost: “A229, Battle, Sedlescombe, Hastings”. Richard Baker, talking directly to camera introduces the film and its purpose. Titles: “The Pestalozzi Children’s Trust presents”, “They Built It Themselves”. Panoramic views of the village and countryside. Sign: “The Pestalozzi Children’s Village”. Views from the road to the village from a car. The narrator explains how the film is the story of how a house came into being over the past three years.

Shot of boys driving combine harvesters, laying tarmac and bricklaying. The narrator explains how the children’s first attempt at building was constructing pig fattening pens and that these practical skills are accompanied by formal education and the maintenance of national heritage. Children are dressed in national costume and performing dances to music; Thai Drum Dance followed by Thai martial arts. Outdoor performance at Beaulieu Abbey of Thai Sword Dance.

A close-up plan of the building with Mr Corps the Carpenter Tutor, Mr Mountain the Deputy Warden and the Honorary Architect. The narrator explains the children’s involvement with the house building. Men prepare the ground for building and lay the concrete raft. Music plays as the children lay the first concrete blocks and window frames are put in place. The narrator explains who will occupy the house and how the new children to attend the village will be selected. Mr Corps constructs door and window frames and modules in the workshop. Children prepare the modules ready for fixing and rafters are fixed in place. A coach arrives with the new Vietnamese children who are welcomed by the residents of the village. Shots of the common room being erected, the Vietnamese children join in with the building. Boys cut up asbestos sheeting and place on rafters. Panoramic views of the village.

Richard Baker speaking directly to camera asks for material and financial help for the work of the Pestalozzi Children’s Trust, this is followed by a contact address and the credits, accompanied by music.

Other footage and rushes: UIDs 5770; 5778; 5786