Cat no. 11


Running time23:03 Black & White Sound 1944 Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

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The daily lives of undergraduates at the University of Cambridge in 1944.



The film opens with external scenes of a degree ceremony at the Senate House, Cambridge. All graduates in this scene are male; women in the shot are onlookers, family members etc. There are extracts from lectures by Sir Lawrence Bragg, Cavendish Professor of Physics and G.M. Trevelyan, historian and Master of Trinity. Sir Lawrence and Lord Trevelyan are heard lecturing.

There are extracts of research work being carried out, highlighting some of the equipment and scientific instruments that were in use. There are scenes from the backs. The sporting life of the University is also highlighted, including scenes of swimming, rowing, cricket and rugby. There are also scenes from a rehearsal of the Dramatic society showing men and women acting together. There is film of the orchestra and choir of the University Music Society, conducted by Dr. Patrick Hadley. In these scenes we hear the performance at the concert.

There are a few indications that this is wartime. Some men wear uniform. There is film of undergraduates training for the armed forces and of a college ARP service on a manoeuvre. This was staffed by undergraduates. The Provost of King's is shown showing overseas visitors around the college. There are shots of Cambridge station, with trains arriving and leaving. There are town scenes, including market scenes, and some shots of the surrounding countryside. Specific mention is made of men and women from Girton working side by side. There are women shown in the physics lecture room and in other areas (although architecture appears to be an all-male subject).

There is a close-up shot of a solitary black, male student. Student dress is different from today. Men are wearing jacket and collar and tie; women are dressed semi-formally in skirts, shirt blouses and cardigans. Several undergraduates wear gowns.There are scenes from around the University and colleges, including a shot of an undergraduate crossing the quad in his dressing gown to take a bath. Interior scenes from study rooms and tutor rooms. The film contrasts the horseplay of the male undergraduates with the more genteel nature of the women at Girton. There are scenes of a kitchen and college servants; of an unspecified Great Hall and the formal evening meal, complete with prayers in Latin. There are scenes from Combination Room at St. Johns College which in 1944 was still lit by candles. This sequence also shows the Presentation of the Wine in the Combination Room at Christ's College.

Featured People:

Sir Lawrence Bragg, Cavendish Professor of Physics; G.M. Trevelyan, historian and Master of Trinity; Sir J.T. Sheppard, Provost of Kings; Dr. Patrick Hadley

Featured Organisations:

Cambridge University Music Society; Cambridge University Dramatic Society

Featured Events:

Cambridge University Degree Ceremony; Presentation of the Wine at Christ's College

Featured Buildings:

Exterior shots: Senate House; Cambridge University Library; The Fitzwilliam Museum; Cavendish Laboratory; Wren Library, Trinity College; Kings College Chapel; Mathematical Bridge,; Queens College; St. Johns College; Clare College; Magdalene College; The Church of Holy Sepulchre; St. Mary the Great; Interior shots: Combination Room, St. Johns College; Combination Room, Christ College

An Everyman Film

Richard Massingham

Louis Grant Wallace

Alex Strasser; Sesu Strasser

Horace Somerville

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