Title ID 7684Collection ID1018
TitleHalstead in Kent
DateMarch - October 1980
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionLocal Topical
ThemeRural Life
KeywordsBuildings Communities Everyday Life Farming Horticulture Houses Landscape Local History Oral History Railway Stations Religious Buildings Roads Rural Areas Schools Trains Villages
LocalHalstead Knockholt
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionF. W. Baker
CameraF. W. Baker
NarratorF. W. Baker
FormatColour Sound
Duration23min. 45sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


This colour amateur documentary from 1980 features the history of Halstead in Kent. It includes various scenes of the village and surrounding countryside and is accompanied by a narrative about historical points of interest.


The film opens with an elderly woman reminiscing about the past. The film cuts to birdsong and the opening titles: "Halstead In Kent: A Historical Guide" & "Filmed by Frank Baker March to October 1980, based on a book and narrated by G.D. Kitchener, M.A.". Frank Baker (?) stands on Star Hill on the North Downs, talking directly to the camera. He explains about the underlying geology of the landscape, bending down to pick up a piece of flint. Shots of the M26 motorway being constructed and the A21 , the narrator explains various road building schemes in the area. Shots of a wooded gully, which the narrator explains was the main road from the coast to London.

At Halstead, various shots of trees and hedgerows follow as the narrator explains their importance in marking the changing parish boundaries over the years. Close-up shot of a postcard showing the post office, followed by a shot of the present day Knockholt Road; the narrator describes how the village grew in the the 1930s. Music plays; in a shop customers are being served over the counter, followed by shots of the former alms houses. Point-of-view shots from a car as it approaches Halstead Hall; the narrator describes its history. A woman reads an account by Edith Nesbit (author of the Railway Children) of living at Halstead Hall; an actress plays the part of Edith as she stands on the roof of the hall. Shots follow of the garden, formerly the site of the village pond. A sign reads "Ye Old Corner Stores"; at the centre of the village. Shots of the school of 1871 which the narrator describes as having been converted into a private house. Close-up of a school photograph, followed by the current school at Otford Lane; children play in the playground. Shots of Village House Cottage, Village House and a farmhouse; the narrator describes their history. Sign: "Halstead Place School"; shots of Halstead old churchyard, still of the old church and Halstead Place which the narrator describes. He then quotes from the diary of the old schoolmaster. Shots of the Old Rectory; the narrator describes the many additions to the building. Shots of the Victorian church; again the narrator describes its history. Music plays, accompanied by shots of the interior of the building.

At Knockholt station a train is seen on the tracks; the narrator describes how farmers used to use the line for transporting fruit to London. Pickers can be seen busily picking strawberries on the site of a former country house. Labourers cottages at a farm feature briefly before the film returns to the village. Quick succession of empty village shops, including the former blacksmiths. A man makes his way into a pit which was formerly dug for the purpose of making bricks. Shot of 'Colgate', where the toothpaste manufacturers family once lived. Music plays, accompanied by shots of Colgate barn. The film cuts abruptly to The Polhill Arms; the narrator explains its history. At Fort Halstead, MOD compound, shots of the boundary fence and watchtowers. Sid Blundall reminisces about his work at Fort Halstead. Shots of various small holdings on the outskirts of the village. A woodman can be seen working in a wood, sawing and planing timber, followed by former strawberry grower's cottages; an elderly woman makes her way out of one of the cottages. Shots of the Rose and Crown pub; close-up of flint-work wall. The film ends with shots of a gardener digging some ground and close-ups of large flints. Music plays, accompanied by birdsong. Title: 'The End".