Cat no. 1318

Major Gladden's Broads Films

Running time28:31 Black & White Silent c.1943 Sutton, Norfolk

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Major Gladden's films of country pursuits and leisure activities in and around the Norfolk Broads.


AmateurHome Movies

The first of these films dates from the 1940s. It shows Mrs. Gladden skating on Hickling Broad. There are other skaters, including local people and family members, in the background. One of these is Mrs. Chisholm Lilly and other are her cousins. Mrs. Gladden skates towards the camera. There are shots of the other skaters showing both speed and figure skating. Major Baden Gladden of Sutton Hall, dressing in plus-fours, tries both and is obviously talented. There are further skating scenes possibly on a different day. The ice is harder. These shots include a black flat coated retriever dog. The Major and Mrs. Gladden feature again. There is a shot of the marshman N.O. Taylor. The rest of this film shows another favourite Broadland pastime - shooting. Major Gladden, carrying a gun, takes the black Retriever dog, Erastus, over a frozen field. They are catching rabbits and the dog carries the catch.

On another day (the ground has thawed) there is a larger rabbit cull, using guns, ferrets and a terrier dog. Mr. Piggin, the Warden at Whitesley, owned by Lord Desborough, has to dig out the ferret that won't let go of its catch. Ferret and rabbit are pulled from the hole. They carry the catch home. Mr. Piggin attempts to put the ferrets in their box, but they keep climbing out.There is a scene showing Mr. Whittaker, an employee of Major Gladden, in a narrow bottomed boat cutting reeds on Hickling Broad. An elderly man, Mr. James Linchorn, is filmed in the main street at Potter Heigham. A man cuts the wheat with a tractor drawn binder on Major Gladden's farm at Potter Heigham. A girl reads a book by the straw stack. Men gather the wheat into stooks. Mrs. Gladden and Miss Gladden, both with guns, walk toward the camera. The women and men pose by the reaper and Miss Gladden takes a photograph. A crawler tractor harrows and there are shots of the fields. Mr. Whittaker scythes grass for the haysel. Mr. Whittaker and Mr. Taylor are filmed clearing the ditches.Men pose for the camera with the two women. Most of them are holding guns. This time they have been catching pheasants. The next shoot is a coot shoot from boats on Hickling Broad, shot in January, 1943. In charge of this was Jim Vincent, Lord Desborough's factor. They lay out the catch before returning to the duck shoot. There is also a shot of Whitesley Lodge. This section of the film is of very poor quality.

The second film shows the Norfolk Army Cadets at a weekend camp at the Caister holiday camp, near Great Yarmouth. The troops' parade and then a Minister holds a Sunday Service. The camera pans along the march past, but far too fast and the resulting work is blurred. The band marches past and the soldiers are addressed by officers. There are some disused caravans in the background. This section ends with a different, mountainous, landscape, but the pictures are very poor.

The third film shows a group, mainly women and girls, picking blackcurrants on the Gladden's farm at Potter Heigham. The pickers included Miss Gladden. She carries her punnet to the foreman where the blackcurrants are weighed, boxed and placed on a trailer. The final scene in this section is a brief shot of Beales, the Gladden's maid at Sutton, carrying a tray of drinks out into the garden.

The final film shows more scenes of Major Gladden, and others, skating on Hickling Broad. There are shots of work on the farm at Potter Heigham, carried out by horses rather than machinery. `Beauty' and `Prince' plough and then Prince pulls the rake and roller. There is a brief shot of pigeons in the garden at Sutton Hall. Sidney Grapes leaves his filling station in Potter Heigham and fills a car with petrol. A lorry passes. A man sweeps the road. This film finishes with a woman, described as a 'writer,' looking out of her window at Sutton Hall.

Background Information:

Major Robert Baden Gladden, who made these films, had farms at Sutton and Potter Heigham. He lived at Sutton Hall that was owned by his brother.Mr. Linchorn was the oldest resident of Potter Heigham at the time.The rabbits, about 40 on this occasion, were stored in the cold store until they could be taken to market the next day. During the war they were a valuable source of cheap food and brought in extra income.Major Gladden's Game Book recorded 540 coot from this shoot as well as many other kinds of ducks and birds. They included three swans and a pigeon.The Norfolk Army Cadets were commanded by Colonel Crossgill. Major Gladden was the second-in-command. The Headquarters was on Calvert Street, Norwich. They gathered at weekend camps, where they would be addressed by serving officers. A Sunday Service would be held by a local priest. Major Gladden shots this film and others like it to show to the cadets.Sidney Grapes, known as The Boy John was renowned for telling broadland tales. (Information from Mrs. Chisholm-Lilley, formerly Miss Gladden, 1997.)

Featured People:

Beales; Major Robert Baden Gladden; Mrs. Gladden; Miss Gladden; Sidney Grapes; Mr. Linchorn of Potter Heigham; Mr. Piggin, Warden of Whitesley Lodge; N.O. Taylor; Jim Vincent, factor to Lord Desborough; Mr. Whittaker

Featured Buildings:

Sutton Hall; Whitesley Lodge, Potter Heigham

Major Robert Baden Gladden

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