Title ID 92Collection ID343
TitlePatcham House Special School: Jubilee River Trip; School Sports
Date1977; 1978
CollectionPatcham House Special School
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsBoats Bridges Children Disabled Persons Ferries Outings Recreational Facilities Rivers Ships Sport Water Transport Youth
LocalPatcham London Edinburgh St. Mary's
RegionalBrighton and Hove London Isles of Scilly
NationalEngland Scotland United Kingdom
ProductionPatcham House Special School
CameraNorman Clark
FormatColour Silent
Duration23min. 34sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A compilation of amateur films filmed by the headmaster of Patcham House Special School. Pupils and staff are seen taking part in sports on the school field, enjoying a trip on the Woolwich Ferry on Jubilee Day and competing at the 'International Spastics Games' in Edinburgh.


The film opens with scenes of a school sports day; children compete in races, a disabled boy using a wheelchair is assisted by a teacher. Blindfolded adults join the children in a three-legged race. There follows brief shots of prizes being awarded at a 'Spastics Games' event.

The film cuts to shots of the children on a school outing on Jubilee Day on board the Woolwich Ferry in London. A clown bends down to speak to a child in a wheelchair; they both wave and smile at the camera. The clown continues to talk to a small group of children. People dressed as pirates are seen on the bridge of the ferry; they walk down to the deck, waving toy swords; the ferry passes other boats and ships on the Thames. The pirates join the children and are seen walking around with the ferry's captain, who is acting as if he had been captured. Tower Bridge is seen opening for the ferry to pass underneath, as the ferry heads up river. The pirates are seen surrounding the clown, acting as if they have taken him prisoner. HMAS Brisbane is seen moored next to HMS Belfast with sailors standing on the deck. The children pose for the camera with the pirates and clown. The film continues to record the journey on board the ferry, with shots of the children wandering around, chatting and eating ice creams. At the ferry terminal (?) the children are seen being helped back onto the coach. The ferry makes the return journey, en route there are more shots of Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast a police riverboat.

Now in Edinburgh, the film shows scenes from the 'International Spastics Games' at Meadowbank Stadium. There are shots of the team's accommodation in a nearby army camp. At the Meadowbank Stadium, the pupils from Patcham House who were selected for the England team are seen walking in the grounds of the stadium. A procession of the national teams takes place on the running track. The electronic scoreboard reads: "Meadowbank Sports Centre welcomes all competitors, officials and friends of I.C.P.S. to Scotland". Shots of the competitors taking part in the various sporting events, receiving medals from the officials and taking part in races on the running track.

On the Isles of Scilly the children are seen playing an informal game of Cricket whilst on holiday and briefly on the ferry.

The film ends with shots of the children playing rounders on the school field.

Contextual information

The Patcham House Special School films held at Screen Archive South East were principally filmed to show to parents and Friends of the school, recording the out-of-school activities enjoyed by the pupils. The collection, which also includes [Patcham House Special School: International Spastics Games in Southern France] (1970) and [Patcham House Special School: Holiday to Scilly] (1981), contains images of summer term class day outings, fetes, school sports days and annual Spastics Games. They were filmed by the school's then headmaster, Norman Clark.

The Spastics Games evolved during the 1960s and 1970s when there were significant changes in social and governmental attitudes towards the education of disabled children. The 1944 Education Act, which had established a free secondary education system based on academic results at the age of eleven, did little to encourage integration. Indeed, it proved to cement the segregation between mainstream and 'special' schooling, with each having distinct curriculums. It was not until the 1970 Education (Handicapped Children) Act that all children in England and Wales were given the right to education - it also resulted in the transfer of responsibility for the education of disabled children from Health Authorities to the Local Education Authorities. It was also during this period that sports activities were integrated into the curriculum for special schools and colleges - the ideology concerning the importance of physical activities had been circulating since the formation of The Spastics Society in 1952. Thus the children at Patcham House Special School during the 1970s, whose disabilities included cerebral palsy, spine bifida, muscular dystrophy, heart problems and cystic fibrosis were amongst the first to benefit from these changes in the education field.

Screen Archive South East also holds films which look at life at other contemporary schools - for example, [A Day in the Life of the School] (1970) is an amateur film of Burwood Park School, a secondary school in Surrey for deaf children whilst [Nevill School Sports Events] (1960 - 1971) records sporting events at a mainstream secondary school.

Screen Archive South East houses several other films which record the educational provision for disabled children in the post-Second World War era. Children and staff from Chailey Heritage enjoy a day trip to the beach in Worthing in A Day’s Outing (ca. 1949) whilst Special School. Around & About with the Children of Queensmill Rd School (1949; 1954) features an outing to Bognor Regis for the female pupils of a London school.