Smith Family Cine Films 1938-82

In the Summer of 2024 Peter arranged to have our father, John Smith’s cine films digitised. We soon will have uploaded them to a private YouTube channel for easy viewing by family members.

This page will provide links to each of the films with notes on the main actors for the younger generations.

Southwold 1938

This film introduces John, Doris, and their children Jean and Sheila. They drive in a Ford car VW6741 from their home in Pinner to stay in a small house near the beach at Easton Bavents, north of Southwold. They enjoy the sand, swimming, kite flying and cricket on the beach. The film shows the Southwold church, lighthouse, promenade, pier and the river Blythe. The first visitors were Madge with teenage daughters Margaret and Jean Reynolds. Later visitors include (5:00) Gran, with Reg and Amy and family. Grandpa appears soon after.

Cornwall August 1939

Two cars arrive in Holywell Bay near Newquay: the Lanchester CNO 763 driven by John, and a Ford V8 Pilot driven by Reg for a joint holiday in Cornwall. The film shows Sheila and Richard enjoying the sandy beach while Jean, John A and boy X (friend of John?) paddle in a nearby stream. The views of the beach, the rolling waves and the surrounding cliffs are beautiful. The film ends abruptly (as did the holiday) with a newspaper clip: “WAR”.

Pinner early 1939 & Harpenden 1945-48

This film starts with scenes at the Pinner house and garden including a visit from John’s sister Florence. This part of the film ends in May 1939  when the family moves to Maybury.

The film resumes after the war in the summer of 1945 (3:40). It introduces John and Doris’ two new children Peter (walking!) and Christine as a tiny baby in the back garden then Sheila and Jean in kilts emerge from the Dining Room door.  It skips to Winter 1946-47 (4:39 – 6:21) with scenes showing fun with frost, snow and ice. After the snow melts it shows Peter wielding a fork, and pushing a wheelbarrow. The remainder of the film shows idyllic summer scenes in the garden – camping, picnicking and feeding the chickens. Uncle Joe appears In the last scene where we’re fooling around on bikes while Doris demonstrates good tennis strokes against the garage doors.

Walcott 1948  

This film shows the house where we stayed near the top of the cliff, with steps down to the beach. Uncle Joe participates in swimming, kite flying, making immense sandcastles, getting clothes wet in the sea and swimming inside a sandbank. It ends with the picnic on the way home.

Winter 1948 & Spring 1949

This film starts in the Maybury garden with autumnal tasks including digging up potatoes and making a bonfire. Uncle Joe appears in the winter, then as spring comes there are more garden scenes including chickens. The film ends with a visit from Doris’ sister Pat with her husband Dick and little daughter Janet.

Southwold 1949

This film starts with beach scenes like Jean and Sheila jumping Peter and Christine up and down in the waves. It provides a glimpse of the house at 12 Field Stile Road (opposite the church) with the Lanchester outside. There’s a nice scene where Peter and Christine jump off concrete blocks and the film ends with a glimpse of Southwold Market Place.

Southwold 1949 continued

This film shows races on the beach, swimming and diving off the groynes and the the picnic on the way home, followed by apple picking in the garden at Maybury.

Southwold 1950

This film introduces the new Tennis Court at Maybury, showing Sheila returning all the balls and Jean missing most of them. Southwold Beach appears(at 1:36). Skip the patch of black film to see the boating lake where Sheila and Jean are sailing small dinghies. 2:09-2:32. Pat (Doris’ sister) arrives with three small children Janet Alison and Stephen. A ‘professional’ photographer, Mr Calvert, takes photos of Sheila with her hair loose. Towards the end, the film shows swimming, stone-throwing and a visit to the pier.

Southwold 1951

This film starts with the picnic on the way to Southwold followed by unpacking the Lanchester at the house on Field Stile Road. The beach scenes show Christine protected by an SAHS blazer recovering from Whooping Cough. Others are wearing jumpers and playing ball but manage to enjoy the ice creams outside the beach hut. At 3:16 it shows Jean and Sheila on the Bailey Bridge over the river Blythe and outside the Bell Hotel (Walberswick?). Another day. Sheila makes an impressive ball run with sand! then Jean and Sheila swim among big waves while Peter and Christine watch the waves standing perilously on the groynes. The film ends with a visit to the boating lake and to the river Blythe.

Southwold 1952 (with a scene at Maybury)

This film starts with Peter and Christine in a protected area of sea inside a sandbank.  It then shows the River Blythe, the Post Office and a day with strong wind – Peter and Christine on the beach in coats. Better day  P and C sandcastles. The following scenes include the boating lake and blackberry picking. Then Uncle Joe appears inside the Harbour Inn with Peter and Christine.

At 3:50 the film switches to scenes in colour! at Maybury: marking the tennis court, playing cricket, and tennis lessons for Peter and Christine. 

At 6:54 the film switches back to Southwold. 

Southwold 1952 & 1953 Home & Sports

The first minute of this film shows Uncle Joe with Christine and  Peter on the beach. It continues with the return to Maybury with Uncle Joe showing the lawn mowed and the tennis nets rolled up.

It then shows Peter and Christine playing snowballs and sledging. The next scene (Spring 1953) shows them with bikes while Sheila is painting the metal rods that support the tennis court netting. The film ends with sports day at Aldwickbury, Peter’s primary school along Wheathampstead Road.

The main actors

Florence and Ebenezer Smith (Gran and Grandad): Amy, Margaret (Madge), John (1903), Florence.

Mary and Charles Allen (Grandma and Grandpa): Reg, Horace, Doris (1907), Pat.

John and Doris Smith: Jean (1934), Sheila (1938), Peter (1944), Christine (1945)

Amy and Reg Allen: John A (1930) and Richard (1938)

Note: 3rd September 1939, PM Neville Chamberlain announced on BBC Radio that Britain and Germany were at war

Notes: Pinner address :30 Colchester Dtive.

Maybury is at 84 Wheathampstead Road, Harpenden.

During the war, the Lanchester was ‘laid up’ (in the garage)

Uncle Joe: Joe was John’s best friend and an honorary uncle to his children. He went to sea at 14 and worked his way up to Captain in the Merchant Navy, sailing on City Line ships. His ship was torpedoed during the war but he survived. Sadly, he died while still young in 1955.

Note : this film is labeled Walcott 1948 & Eype 53. But there is no sign of the latter

Note: [EM19917-09] Southwold 1949 is after [EM19917-10] Southwold 1949

Note: SAHS – Jean and Sheila went to St Albans High School

Eype 1953

As a change from self-catering in Southwold, John and Doris set off for Dorset in search of a change, taking Peter and Christine with them. Jean and Sheila were to follow by train as soon as they found something suitable which they did – at the Bonville Hotel at Eypes Mouth. This film shows scenes on a sandy beach with high cliffs but as Jean went off sketching most days she is missing from the film. The film includes a visit to the Swannery at Abbotsbury and finally Peter and Christine are shown in a dinghy with Grandpa at Poole Harbour.

Peter and Christine’s Sports Days 1954 

The film starts at Aldwickbury School with the running race – Peter comes up from behind and wins. The sack race follows this and then a race in which Peter can be seen going over various obstacles. 

The film then switches to St Georges (Christine’s school in Harpenden) Christine appears in a complex relay race involving egg-and-spoon and bunny-hopping.  The film concludes with Prize Giving. The film concludes with Prize Giving – Christine and her partner receive a prize for the three-legged race.

Whipsnade 1954

A family visit to the Zoo some 15 miles from Harpenden is devoted almost wholly to the animals (not the human ones). We see bears with cubs, tigers, penguin pool, polar bear, sea lions, lions and the elephant ride on which Peter and Christine did not venture. The change to colour is film taken by Uncle Joe who accompanied the family on the outing, the peacock shows up well