Title ID 6077Collection ID848
TitleBorough of Reigate Centenary Film
CollectionNorth Downs Film Unit
ThemeCine Club Film-making
KeywordsAnimals Armed Forces Celebrations Commemorative Events Carnivals Children Sport Games Local History Parades Performing Arts Fancy dress Pageants
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionNorth Downs Cinematograph Society
Format16mm Colour Sound
Duration48 min. 43 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A film charting a summer of events to celebrate Reigate's centenary year, produced by the North Downs Cinematograph Society in 1963


"North Downs Cinematograph Society Presents... Borough of Reigate. Centenary Celebrations 1863 - 1963." Music, intertitles and commentary throughout.

A horse and royal messenger travel down a lane, across marshes and down the hill to Reigate, the "journey's end". Waiting are local adversaries, "soon the town will have its own local government". The queen's charter arrives, permitting them to elect a council and mayor. One of the men reads the charter aloud.

"Once again, preparations are afoot for elections for a mayor"

The current mayor, chaplain and town clerk process into a chamber. The meeting opens with a prayer. The new mayor returns in robes to take up his office. He accepts and signs, witnessed by the town clerk. The procedure is recorded by press. Portraits of previous mayors hang on the wall behind. On Sunday morning, the new mayor, town clerk and councillors attend a special service at Reigate Parish Church.

"Exhibition Lacrosse Match"

"Reigate Ladies Lacrosse Club XII v Miss Moreshy White's XII, Saturday April 20th, 2.45pm in the Reigate Priory playing fields." The women begin the match. Spectators stand with umbrellas in the rain. Women arrive with refreshments at half-time. Commentary: "Despite the weather, the game was played with great enthusiasm, and resulted in a well-earned draw."

"Reigate School Sports"

Relay and sprint races are run, and spectators cheer the participants along. Flowers are presented to the Mayoress. Prizes are awarded by the mayor.

"Donkey Derby and Fete"

"Whit Monday, 1.30 p.m., Memorial Sports Ground". The fete raises money for local charities annually. Visitors are seen betting on donkeys. Spectators stand behind a rope (pan). Seven races are run, culminating in the derby itself. The results are given and a man tears up his ticket, "We assume there were some winners, but this punter wasn't one of them." Activities and games and speeches follow.

"Battlebridge Trophy Meeting"

"June 8th, 2.30 p.m. - athletics and tug of war" is advertised on road sign. At Redhill and Reigate Athletic Club, young men race around the half mile track. Six clubs took part. Further competitions follow. Footage of athletes resting, the prize giving and trophies is included.

"The Carnival Queen": The judges selected the Queen earlier in the year. The young women are seen processing around the chamber holding their numbers. They announce the winner, number 13, before the ceremony performed. The winner wears a crown and robe.

"Carnival - Reigate Heath"

The carnival has been organised by the borough chamber of commerce. Clubs and societies make the preparations at the heath. 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. The Pipers of the Horely Swimming Pool Group dance in kilts to entertain the crowds. The Mayor is seen enjoying the show. The carnival continues down to Redhill, passing spectators lining the streets. A prize giving is held in the memorial sports ground, heralding the carnival queen.

"Operation Touchdown"

Thousands of scouts have assembled from all over Surrey at Reigate Priory. They are seen erecting tents, making fires for the stoves, and playing football in the rain, "despite conditions, moral was high". During a cart race, participants must dismantle a cart and reassemble it to overcome obstacles and continue the race, which "provided excitement for contestants and spectators alike".

"100 Years of Fashion"

"The Costume Exhibition" was held in the Old Town Hall in June and July. Items from museum and private collection are exhibited on mannequins and display boards, illustrating the "gradual change in ladies fashions from the 1860s to present day". One of Queen Victoria's black dresses is the star of the show.

"Veteran Car Rally"

"W.S.C.C. Tinsley Green - 13th July." 56 cars took part in the rally, organised by the Surrey mirror and Kent Messenger. "Proud old faithfuls, all manufactured before 1919". The route finished at Reigate Priory, and checkpoints were managed by newspaper staff. The Mayor is shown inspecting the cars. One takes him for a ride for the last leg of the rally. A camera follows behind in another car. They are welcomed into the priory car park by the waiting spectators.

"Beating Retreat"

"Royal Surrey Regiment, 8th September". A marching band in uniform perform for spectators behind a rope. Troops receive their colours.

"Bowls Match"

Participants play bowls on Reigate Priory Bowling Green and spectators watch from the pavilion. Commentary: "one of the more leisurely pursuits of the centenary celebrations... played in one of the most delightful settings possible".

"The Morris Dancers"

A crowd has gathered eating ice lollies on Slipshoe Street. a "quaint old corner of Reigate". One of the troop plays the recorder while six others dance in the street with sticks, bells around their ankles, and scarfs in their hands. "It is hoped that in the hands of such enthusiasts, this form of entertainment will continue into future years."

"Freedom of the Borough"

The members of the Queens Surrey Regiment who were awarded their colours at the Beating Retreat are presented to Mayor at Reigate Priory. Troops march across the green to the band for gathered spectators.

"It has not been possible to show all the happenings, nor convey the true community spirit that has prevailed throughout... 1963 will be a year to remember" "The End"


a still from 'Borough of Reigate Centenary Film' (1963)A still from Borough of Reigate Centenary Film (1963)