Title ID 1059Collection ID18
TitleThe House of Jan and Pete: A Birthday
CollectionMantle Family
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionActuality/Factual
ThemeFamily life
KeywordsBirthdays Celebrations Dance Family Youth
LocalMilton Regis
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionDick Allen
CameraDick Allen
Commissioning bodyJanice and Peter Mantle
ParticipantsDavid Mantle; Janice Mantle; John Mantle; Peter Mantle; Sarah Jane Mantle
FormatColour Sound
Duration15 min. 34 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


An amateur film which records the 18th birthday party of Sarah Mantle. The celebrations revolve around a disco for family and friends at a local hall. The film has an accompanying music track.


The House of Jan and Pete: A Birthday opens with images of a photograph album which depicts the first eighteen years of Sarah Mantle's life - the album is returned to throughout the film, providing chronological studio portraits of Sarah across the years.

Family and friends gather at Sarah's 18th birthday celebrations - the occasion is marked by a disco in a community hall. The disco lights flash whilst partygoers dance to the DJ's music - group dancing highlights include the Conga and the Hokey-Cokey. Couples also take to the floor - Sarah's mother and father dance together whilst she dances with one of her twin brothers. Later, the birthday girl is beckoned into the middle of the room, where she is encircled by guests singing Happy Birthday to her whilst balloons cascade down from the ceiling. Sarah's friends give her the bumps - her parents give her the photograph album used to open the film, and a key to the family house. The evening continues with a buffet meal and with Sarah cutting her birthday cake - she offers the first piece to her grandmother. The celebrations come to a close with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne. The film ends with a symbolic image marking Sarah's coming of age - she returns to the family home, unlocking the door with the key given to her earlier in the evening by her parents.


Contextual information

Jan and Pete Mantle commissioned cine photographer Dick Allen to make The House of Jan and Pete: A Birthday (1984). The resulting film serves as a personal family record of an 18th birthday, complete with personal touches such as the use of the photograph album to chart Sarah Mantle's childhood. From an objective point of view, the film serves as a rich social history resource. It captures a specific moment in time on celluloid, providing images of a celebratory event from the 1980s in which fashions and activities are pronounced and time-specific.

Screen Archive South East holds two other films which record significant events in the Mantle family's history. The first The House of Jan and Pete. Our Wedding (1965) features the wedding of Jan and Peter Mantle, whilst The House of Jan and Pete. A Celebration (1989) records the celebrations surrounding their twin sons' eighteenth birthdays. Both films were also produced by Dick Allen.

Screen Archive South East houses a large number of amateur films which also record family celebrations, such as weddings and christenings, Christmases and anniversaries. Amongst the films showing birthday celebrations are Gowlland Film, 1951 (1951) and Joce and Gill at Home (1936 - 1940), both of which revolve around family-centred events

Related titles

Related resources


British Film Institute National Archive & BFI Reuben Library

The BFI in London holds many ‘How To’ manuals and publications giving advice to the amateur film-maker and cine societies. The catalogue is searchable online.


Institute of Amateur Cinematographers

“An international organisation whose aims are to further interest and education in relation to all aspects of film and video making and associated visual arts.” The website has links to further useful resources as well as lists of cine-clubs and societies nationwide.