Cat no. 536

Town And Family Scenes

Running time7:36 Black & White Silent 1939-1940 Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

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Evacuees arriving in Clacton-on-Sea.


AmateurArchive AliveWartime

This film begins at Clacton Station, showing evacuees arriving in Clacton. Some leave by car. Others are herded together and are looked after by girl guides. In the family home a small boy blows out the candles on his cake. There are exterior shots of Clacton County High School. Women leave riding bicycles and there are shots of children in leaving. At home, the two oldest children are in school uniform. At home, the family sort Christmas cards, make paper chains and put up the black out. A small boy is filmed playing at soldiers and then playing with a carpentry kit. Outside there are snow scenes on Upper Branston Road with the young boy snow balling. The next shot shows girls from the Clacton County High School being evacuated from Clacton. In school uniform and carrying gas masks the girls march along the Road. At Clacton station, they board the train. Many boys, generally younger, have joined them and are looking out of the window. One gives a thumbs up to the camera. The train leaves and the children wave. The family leave the station. The next sequence shows Peter Smerdon with his hosts after evacuation. The family leave Dudley Road, a row of terraced houses. Shots in Clacton town centre at the junction of Station Road and Pier Avenue show shops boarded up. The film ends with the family having Christmas dinner.

Background Information:

Herbert Lyne Smerdon was a photographer with the East Essex Gazette, formerly the Clacton Times. He and his wife Bertha lived with their four children, Kathleen, John, Monica and Peter at 120 Dudley Road, Clacton. The family had to leave the house as it was taken over by the army during the war.
Clacton suffered the first civilian casualties of the war in 1940 when a German plane crashed when flying over England. As the plane had narrowly avoided hitting a school, there was a rush to evacuate the children. As nothing happened for some time, many of them returned again, only to be caught by the Blitz. (See Essex, 1975, Finest Hour.)

Featured People:

Mrs. Bertha Smerdon; Kathleen Smerdon; John Smerdon; Monica Smerdon; Peter Smerdon

Featured Organisations:

The Girl Guides

Featured Buildings:

Clacton County High School; Clacton station

Herbert Smerdon

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