Title ID 1562Collection ID43
Title[Jocelyn’s 3rd Birthday]
CollectionEmberton Family
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurFamily Home MovieNon-fictionFamily Life
ThemeFamily life Fashion Case Study Girlhood
KeywordsBirthdays Beaches Children Clothing Domestic Gardens Family Food Gardening Games Mothers Parades Plants Royalty Social Class Fashion Dresses Hats Uniforms
LocalChobham London
RegionalSurrey Greater London
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionJoseph Emberton
CameraJoseph Emberton
ParticipantsJocelyn Emberton; Gillian Emberton; Kathleen Emberton
FormatColour Silent
Duration11 min.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A Dufaycolor film of the Emberton family, showing; daughter, Jocelyn Emberton, on an outing to the countryside, in the garden with her mother, at the beach, and at her third birthday party. At the birthday party, a gathering of children, their mothers and nannies enjoy tea and games in the garden. The film ends with a royal parade, possibly King George V's Silver Jubilee(?). Dufaycolor was an early film system that employed a matrix of red, green and blue to produce colour on film. This matrix pattern is clearly in evidence in the online clips.


Dress description The film begins with footage of Mrs. Emberton picking flowers in a garden. The film has clear shots of the summer dress she is wearing. The dress is made of a light-weight cotton fabric and is duck-egg blue in colour. It is mid calf length and sleeve-less . There are seven large white buttons down the front and three buttons alongside a small slit at the back which sits off-centre to the left of the dress. The dress hangs from a halter-neck chain attached to the top section via large metal hoops. The cut is low at the back. A woollen belt is worn loosely tied around the waist with two green and white pompoms hanging at the end. This dress is also worn in the second scene of the film set at the beach, where Mrs. Emberton has combined the outfit with a large sunhat. This hat is of a very unusual design. It is shaped like a seashell and is made of stiff material that is slightly transparent and iridescent. It ties underneath the chin with a piece of ribbon or string.

In the next scene, which is daughter Jocelyn’s third birthday party, a group of guests are sitting down outside to eat and drink. They are waited on by maids in traditional service uniforms. These outfits are typical of the period and consist of a long-sleeved black knee-length dress, crisp white collar, apron and cap with a black ribbon threaded through it.


A Still from 'JocelynÕs 3rd Birthday' (1935)A Still from 'Jocelyn's 3rd Birthday' (1935)A Still from 'Jocelyn's 3rd Birthday' (1935)A Still from 'Jocelyn's 3rd Birthday' (1935)A Still from 'Jocelyn's 3rd Birthday' (1935)

Contextual information

Fashion Notes: Mrs. Emberton’s outfit is very casual in style, but conforms to summer fashions of the period. Halternecks became fashionable, as emphasis shifted onto the back in evening and informal summer dresses. It is possible that the dress has been hand-made from a pattern.

Livery for women was first introduced in the nineteenth century, prior to this maids had worn a combination of different outfits depending upon what they could afford, make for themselves or were given by their mistresses. The introduction of a uniform developed out of the need to differentiate the class and status of gentlewomen from their accompanying lady’s maid. The black and white ‘penguin’ look that eventually emerged in the formal attire of servants has subsequently become recognisable as an iconic image of Britishness.

Fashion keywords: aprons, caps, hat, livery, sundresses

For further information see Screen Search Fashion online resource.

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.