Charles Scott amateur film maker

Born in 1900 and living in Norwich, Charles Scott bought a cine camera in 1933 and besides filming his family and friends, he began recording the celebrations, parades and annual traditions of Norwich life in a series of amateur newsreels called ‘It Happened In Norwich’. These mirror closely the kind of stories covered by the local newspaper which supported the sense of heritage and distinct local identity; but these include local celebration of national events which were shared across the country.

After army service in India, Charles was employed for over 40 years by Jacobs biscuits as a driver and depot manager. Based in King’s Lynn during the Second World War he made a detailed film of the Home Guard. After the war he continued to capture scenes of the rapidly changing city as well as family events and holidays into the 1970s.

Charles Scott used the same camera until the film spool became obsolete in the 1980s. He chose 16mm rather than 9.5mm for its quality, and this was an expensive hobby for a family with not much money, but filming was an essential part of their family life. Charles continued his film making and took on more projects in retirement, and was delighted when his films reached a wider audience through television and the film archive. His film making began in an era before television when it was a rare experience to watch scenes of a local event captured on film. By 1946 local people were already recognising the historical value of Charles Scott’s collection and requesting film shows.

Charles in his distinctive glasses appears in front of the camera in several films, often being comical, and it is most likely that his wife Ethel was filming at the time.

Cat no. 114

It Happened In Norwich: 1933-1946

Running time18:54 Black & White Silent 1933-1946 Norwich, Norfolk

The first in Charles Scott’s series of local newsreels, this records Norwich before and just after the Second World War. He filmed the 1935 jubilee and 1937 coronation celebrations, as well as carnivals, official city events and ominous scenes of air raid precautions.

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Cat no. 6200

Home Front Home Movies

Running time12:13 Black & White Silent 1939-1944

In the week leading up to the German invasion of Poland, Charles Scott and his family were on holiday with their friends Mr and Mrs Barrett of Wisbech. This family film also captures their brief holidays and family gatherings during the war.

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Cat no. 419

Home Guard

Running time31:29 Black & White Silent 1940-1945 King's Lynn, Norfolk

For this detailed half-hour record, Charles Scott re-enacted scenes of the radio announcement of the formation of the Local Defence Volunteers and volunteers arriving at King’s Lynn Town Hall to enlist in what would become the Home Guard. The training, parades and exercises throughout the wartime years were filmed as a permanent record.

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Cat no. 420

King's Lynn Town Scenes

Running time10:33 Colour Silent c.1944 King's Lynn, Norfolk

In scarce colour film Charles Scott records the fishing boats and scenes around the shops and streets of King’s Lynn, including the Pilot Cinema, and British and American servicemen.

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Cat no. 118

It Happened In Norwich: Operation Prefab

Running time1:32 Black & White Silent 1947 Norwich, Norfolk

From ‘It Happened in Norwich’ 1947 - 1949, scenes of the arrival of factory-built homes popularly known as prefabs. They were assembled in a day, providing a short term solution to the housing crisis and continued to be homes decades longer than intended.

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Cat no. 6204

The Hollow Tooth

Running time5:56 Black & White Silent c.1948

Charles joined Norwich Amateur Cine Club and even tried drama with this comedy about a man desperate with toothache putting off the inevitable visit to the dentist. Dare you watch?

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Cat no. 6203

Our Wedding Day

Running time12:30 Black & White Silent 1949 Norwich, Norfolk

A carefully composed film of a wedding in Norwich, unusually including part of the ceremony, followed by a detailed record of the reception at Brundall.

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Cat no. 124

Festival of Britain and Royal Norfolk Show

Running time16:48 Colour Silent 1951 Norwich, Norfolk

A colourful record of the decorations and celebrations in the city and the agricultural show in Festival Year.

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Cat no. 6193

It Happened In Norwich: 1954-1973

Running time35:14 Colour Silent 1954-1973 Norwich, Norfolk

The rebuilding of the bomb damaged city centre, crowds queuing to see Norwich City footballers during their exciting 1959 season, and more pageantry and parades.

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Cat no. 6185

Our City

Running time35:11 Colour Silent c.1970 Norwich, Norfolk

Leisurely colour scenes of the 1960s and 70s capturing the look of Norwich, its architecture, streets and open spaces.

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