Title ID 1023Collection ID56
Title[Broadstairs & St. Peter's Items]
Date1936 - 1937
CollectionEnid Briggs pt1
ThemeSeaside Fashion
KeywordsBeaches Ceremonies Commemorative Events Cultural Events Dance Entertainment Horticulture Memorials Monuments Natural Disasters Performing Arts Seaside Resorts Storms Theatre Clothing Fashion Fancy dress Hats Uniforms
LocalBroadstairs St. Peter's
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionEnid Briggs
CameraEnid Briggs
Format16mm Black & White Silent
Duration17 min.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A compilation of items filmed by Enid Briggs in Broadstairs in the late 1930s. The selection includes variety performances staged on Broadstairs sands, rough seas and storm damage, a flower show, a display by the Red Cross and the 'Broadstairs Dickens Festival'.


The film opens with panoramic shots of the seafront and crowds on the beach, filmed from the cliff tops. Scenes of variety acts held for 'Uncle Mack's Benefit' in 1936, include performers from Broadstairs' 'Bohemia' and 'Pavilion' Theatres, alongside Uncle Mack's Minstrels performing their song and dance routines. There are brief shots of an Armistice Day memorial ceremony held in the town, with flowers laid at the memorial. Rough seas and the aftermath of a storm on 'Joss Bay' and Broadstairs' main beach, 'Viking Bay', are filmed. People on the beaches look at the debris whilst others salvage items from their uprooted and damaged beach huts.

Exhibitors, laden with flowers, arrive at a flower show at St. Peters Parish Hut. This is followed by a display put on by Red Cross nurses outside the Pierremont Hall; The title reads "Red Cross inspection by War Office". The military style inspection is followed by demonstrations of first aid techniques put on by the nurses, including helping a patient whilst wearing gas masks. The film closes with scenes from Broadstairs Dickens Festival (possibly filmed in 1937, the first year this event was held, and the centenary of the author's visit to the town). Locals at Dickens House and Bleak House are dressed as Dickens characters, and a production of David Copperfield is staged in the open air.


A still from [Broadstairs & St. Peter's Items] (1936-1937) showing dancers on a stageA still from [Broadstairs & St. Peter's Items] (1936-1937)

Contextual information

Uncle Mack’s Minstrels were an integral part of the Broadstairs summer entertainment in the early part of the twentieth century. In 1911 Uncle Mack’s Minstrels were voted the most popular troupe of the British Seaside resorts. Now considered unacceptable as a form of entertainment, black-faced entertainers were a popular act in the 1930s and were often seen at seaside resorts where the additional character of ‘Uncle’ befriended children and encouraged them to take part in singing and dancing competitions. It is thought that film-maker Enid Briggs was a friend of Uncle Mack’s (real name James Henry Summerson); he and his troupe appear in many of her local topical films. Enid Briggs’ films were edited together at a later date (by others), consequently these films now appear out of chronological order.

Fashion Notes: The film shows the costumes worn at a variety act. This includes a Pierrot type costume worn by a minstrels act and a satin bell-bottomed trouser suit worn by female dancers. This film also illustrates men in work clothing and Red Cross nurses in uniform.

Fashion keywords: aprons, bell bottoms, caps, fancy dress, satin, uniforms

For further information see Screen Search Fashion online resource.

Related titles

Related resources


Screen Search Fashion

This online resource provides a thematic guide for students interested in fashion and dress. The site offers pathways into aspects of fashion and dress as depicted in archive film from the inter-war period in the Screen Archive South East collections.