Cat no. 1069

No Less Precious

Running time24:50 Black & White Sound 1963 Bedford, Bedfordshire

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A documentary on the care of the mentally handicapped at Bromham Hospital, Bedford.


DocumentaryHealth and Medicine

The commentary provides an introduction regarding mental handicap. The film begins with shots of a housing estate in Bedford. A car drives through and a Mental Welfare Officer visits a mother of a handicapped baby. They sit in the garden to talk. The baby sits on a blanket on the grass. A van drives along a road to visit the Bromham Hospital, three miles from Bedford. The sign at the entrance reads:

North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board
Bedford Group Hospital Management Committee
Bromham Hospital. At this hospital there are 450 patients of whom 100 are children. The commentary explains that most will never leave hospital; they are 'severely subnormal.'

There are shots showing the workshops where the patients assemble plastic pens, pack plastic toys and assemble picture frames. They undertake craft work such as raffia and wicker work and carpet making. Facilities shown include the dining hall and the kitchens where a meal is prepared. There are shots of the medical facilities, showing staff attending patients, dental care and the training of nurses. In the children's ward there are shots of the children playing and in bed. There are aerial shots of the Carnival, organised by the Parents and friends of Bromfield Hospital. There are people in fancy dress, a band and a historical pageant and country dancing.At the entrance to the Hall a plaque reads:

This recreation hall was opened by Kenneth Robinson Esq MP Chairman Mental Health Committee, north West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. 17th December 1959. No Less Precious.

There are shots of a religious service taking place. The next sequence shows a training centre run by Bedfordshire County Council. Interior scenes show young children learning everyday skills. They also learn knitting, painting, crafts and needlework. They play outside and there are shots showing a meal time. Older pupils work in the workshops and then play cricket. At the Starlight Club the handicapped meet to play music, dance and play games. These include billiards and table tennis. Some model plasticine. They take refreshments and there is a 'cabaret'. The final sequence shows the 'Slough Project'. A tablet at the entrance reads:

This tablet was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Royal Patron of the National Society For Mentally Handicapped Children on the occasion of the opening of the society's national hostel and sheltered workshop XI II MCMLXIII.

Here handicapped people live in the hostels and work at local factories. Interior scenes show workshops and living quarters.

Featured Organisations:

Bedford And District Society For Mentally Handicapped Children,; Bedfordshire County Council; Luton Society For Mentally Handicapped Children; National Society For Mentally Handicapped Children ; Parents And Friends Of Bromfield Hospital

Featured Buildings:

Bromfield Hospital

Bedford and District Society For Mentally Handicapped Children; Luton Society For Mentally Handicapped Children; Parents and Friends of Bromfield Hospital

John K. Turner

John K. Turner

Peter N. Cope

John K. Turner

Michael Blackledge

Brian Horsfall

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