1 October 2003
16mm film was only four years old when this collection was begun. Dating from 1927 through to the late 1940's, these home movies cover such diverse and important subjects as Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin at Chequers with family and friends; a state visit to Canada; point-to-point racing and hunting with foxhounds; and foreign holidays to Rhodesia, Canada and the West Indies. Personalities in the collection include the Canadian Premier, Mackenzie King; Governor of New York, Al Smith; and members of Sir John Dashwood's family. Highlights of the collection are the sections relating to Baldwin. The amateur cameraman wasn't a distant observer. He was probably a member of Baldwin's private staff, and accompanied the Prime Minister to Canada in 1927. This would explain his unsympathetic use of intertitles: 'Wales, as usual, is late' and 'the Prince is rather ill at ease and nervous over his task' when the prince is about to speak. (We have just seen the Prince biting his fingernails). Baldwin was known to dislike the Prince of Wales, and it is possible his distrust of the prince dates from this time. Baldwin would later preside over the abdication crisis of 1936. No doubt those close to the Prime Minister sympathised with his views. Later, the party travelled across Canada on a Canadian Pacific Railroad Royal Train, where the Prince would have to press the flesh at the various rail stops. Some of the material of the cameraman's family is in colour - children at play, nannies tending to them, and trips to Southern Africa.
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