Cat no. 115

Time On Their Hands

Running time32:58 Colour Silent 1938 Norwich, Norfolk

Loading the player ...

The work of the Mutual Services Clubs, Norwich in alleviating unemployment, and a visit by the King and Queen to the Club.


DocumentaryIndustrial / Sponsored FilmPromotional

After a brief interview with the General Organiser, the work of the club in providing allotments for the unemployed is explained. A clerk deals with a crowd indoors and then a general shot of seed and equipment precedes a weighing of potatoes. A man digs his plot, turning over meadow land. The next sequence is of the indoor workshops including woodwork, cobbling and tailoring. The sport section includes scenes from football matches, a cricket match, a bowls match as well as shots inside a billiard hall with men playing billiards.

The Cup Final is played at Carrow Road. The Girls Club and Wives Club show the woman sewing, knitting and reading as well as playing a game similar to bingo. A sequence showing Christmas parcels distributed by officials and then others are taken across a snow covered courtyard and loaded into a Rover car for distribution. The film depicts the canteen as well as the coal club and the fish club. The Ladies Working Party are knitting and sewing. The film also covers the activities for the blind, including a concert where an accordionist and a pianist entertain.

Lifeboat Day depicts a RNLI van being unloaded, the goods including davits and collecting boxes. A trip out on the Yarmouth lifeboat to the St. Nicholas Lightship is filmed. The Club's publicity, showing the editor of the Club journal `Whither', then the staff and the production process. The journal is loaded into a van carrying an advertisement for the National Volunteers Auxiliary Fire Service. The film also shows some of the fund-raising events, including the Eaton House Garden Fete. Here radio personality Miss Anona Winn makes the opening speech and presents prizes before trying her hand at bar billiards and other side-shows. Sir G. Ernest and Lady White attend the Costessey Fete. The film concludes with Our Great Day, a record of the visit of the King and Queen to the Club during their visit to Norwich to open City Hall. They sign the visitors' book and meeting officials and members of the Club. The Royal couple depart in an open Daimler.

Background Information:

The Norwich Unemployment Welfare Association. During the 1920s, the Industrial Christian Fellowship, a Church of England organisation, investigated the problem of mass unemployment in Norwich. The outcome of this was to set up the Norwich Unemployment Welfare Association in 1929. Organised by Oliver Findlow, the aim of the Association was to help the unemployed avoid bitterness and disillusionment; to create opportunities for mutual participation rather than to depend on charity. Open air meetings were held in Norwich Market Place to find out what the men wanted..The men wanted somewhere to go; a rest room. In conjunction with the City Council a room in a disused shoe factory on the site of the present City Hall was found along with materials for the men to refurbish it. It was filled with twenty years of pigeon droppings which Findlow sold. With the proceeds he brought a gramophone and some books. Initially the men refused to work claiming that it would be scab labour unless they were paid union rates for the work. Eventually the problems were ironed out and the first Mutual Services Club was underway. Later a three storey house in Pottergate was rented from the Colman family for a peppercorn rent.

The aims of the Norwich Unemployment Welfare Association were to stimulate and encourage a sense of comradeship; to encourage men to regain and retain their craftsmanship; to promote an interest in other issues; to provide facilities for recreation and sport and to advise and help in case of need. The Pottergate club consisted of offices, a games room, a canteen, a room for the blind, concert and lecture rooms, and a quiet room that served as a chapel, a library and workshops.A number of schemes were put into operation. With the assistance of the City Works Department and the Quakers, 300 allotments were provided rent free to enable the men to grow food to feed their families. Men gave an outlay of 12 shillings for tools and seed.A carpentry shop was set up where the men paid only for what they used. All products were for personal use; nothing could be sold. Old boots and shoes were given by the people of Norwich. Under the guidance of a cobbler, the men repaired them for their own family using leather donated by one of the local shoe factories, usually offcuts. There was a club for unemployed women and girls and unemployed musicians set up an Orchestra. District clubs were founded in Lakenham, Thorpe, Mile Cross, Heigham and New Costessey. Between 1932 and 1939 the Mutual Services Clubs dealt with over 30,000 men and women. One of the friends of the Association paid for this film.The Royal Visit. The King and Queen were scheduled to stay for ten minutes - they stayed for three quarters of an hour.

Anona Winn was a singer, actress and radio personality. Born in Sydney in 1904, she became a singer before appearing in The Merry Widow, The Blue Mazurka and Fancy Meeting You. Shortly before her appearance here she had founded her own dance band Anona Winn and the Four Winners. She was later famous as a panellist on Twenty Questions.

Featured People:

HM King George VI; HM Queen Elizabeth; Miss Anona Winn, radio personality; Sir G. Ernest White; Lady White

Featured Organisations:

The Mutual Services Club; The RNLI; The National Volunteers Auxiliary Fire Service

Featured Events:

The visit of HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to the Mutual Services Club, Norwich, October 29th, 1938

Featured Buildings:

Norwich City Football Ground, Carrow Road

The Norwich Unemployment Welfare Association

A.E. Coe & Sons Ltd; Oliver Findlow

S. Harvey

Terms and conditions

The Terms and Conditions apply to the website (the Website) and by accessing the website you are agreeing to abide by them.

 We may modify the terms and conditions or withdraw or deny access to the Website at any time at our sole discretion.

In your use of the Website you agree not to, at any time:

  1. Conduct or promote any illegal activities
  2. Attempt to reverse engineer or jeopardize in any way the correct functioning of the Website and its services or otherwise attempt to derive the source code or other code or software that enables the operation of this website.
  3. Use any automatic, electronic or manual process not provided by this website to access search or harvest any information from the website or to interfere in any way with its proper functioning.
  4. Mirror or frame the website or any portion thereof, place pop-up windows over its pages or otherwise affect the display of its pages.

Every effort has been made to exclude or flag content that may be upsetting or cause offence and not to include films that are unsuitable, however the East Anglian Film Archive bears no responsibility for people under the age of 18 viewing the Website or for any offence that may be caused by people viewing the Website. If you feel that some items could cause offence please contact us in the first instance. If you would like to have access to any of the films available for purposes not permitted by these Terms and Conditions, including any commercial venture, then please contact us.


The content of the Website including but not limited to the text are Copyright © 2011 The East Anglian Film Archive of the University of East Anglia.

The copyright in the original film materials and the digital reproductions of all still and moving images herein and their arrangements in many cases may be owned by a number of parties. Any requests for copyright clearance for use of the material should be directed to the East Anglian Film Archive in the first instance. It is the requester’s responsibility to obtain such necessary clearance and the East Anglian Film Archive will not be held responsible for any failure on the requester’s part to do so.

The contents on the Website may be accessed as view only and purely for non commercial personal, educational and cultural interest. Under no circumstances shall any content be downloaded, transferred, copied or re-produced in whole or in part in any manner or in or on any media without the prior written consent of The East Anglian Film Archive.

The East Anglian Film Archive would like to thank those who allowed copyright permission for the use and display of works that appear on this site.


The East Anglian Film Archive has made every reasonable effort to locate, contact and acknowledge copyright owners. There are a small number of cases where, despite our efforts, the copyright owner has not been identified. In these cases, we welcome contact from copyright owners and will take immediate action to gain any appropriate clearances or remove the items if requested.

We do not guarantee that the Website will be compatible with any and all hardware or software which you may use nor that the Website will be available all of the time or at any specific times.

The East Anglian Film Archive makes no warranty that the Website is free from computer viruses or any other malicious or impairing computer program.

The Website contains links to other websites with their own terms and conditions. The East Anglian Film Archive is not responsible for the terms and conditions of these websites.


The East Anglian Film Archive is committed to a high standard of quality in all its work and with this in mind every attempt has been made to present up to date and accurate information on this website. However, visitors need to bear in mind that it is possible that information contained on this website may be out of date, incomplete, the opinion of the author or the opinion  “of the time” and may contain technical inaccuracies and typographical errors. We accept no responsibility for keeping the information in these pages up to date or liability for not doing so. If you notice information that needs to be updated or corrected, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Personal data

The Website may contain some personal data such as names of film-makers, some film participants etc. We have taken all reasonable care to ensure that we operate within the provisions of data protection legislation. If you believe that any of the data on the Website causes or is likely to cause damage or distress to you or any other living person, please contact us with details.

Liability and indemnification

Any unauthorised use you make of the University of East Anglia or East Anglian Film Archive copyright and/or trademarks will constitute an infringement of the University of East Anglia’s Intellectual Property and may lead to legal action and other such remedies in accordance with the governing law.

You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the University of East Anglia and its employees, affiliates and students

Except to the extent prohibited by the governing law the University of East Anglia accepts no responsibility for any use you may make of the Website.

The University of East Anglia is only liable to you for direct losses which you may reasonably be expected to suffer where you can show that such losses were as a result of our breach of these terms and conditions. Any implied warranties and conditions are fully excluded.

Our Liability to you shall in no circumstances include any loss of profit or revenue or any other indirect losses you may incur whether foreseen or not.

Governing Law

The Laws of England and Wales shall govern and the Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction over

  1. The formation, existence, construction, performance, validity and all other aspects of these terms and conditions whatsoever
  2. Any and all claims made by you or us for any and all breaches acts omissions, misuses, liability and copyright claims as set out in these terms and conditions.

The East Anglian Film Archive is owned and operated by the University of East Anglia

© 2011 The East Anglian Film Archive of the University of East Anglia.