Educational Films in General

BW 4/1

15th November 1943 Letter to Primrose from R.P Ayres – requesting to view Campanions (which, is noted on the letter in pencil as ‘Not Available’) Sea Scouts, Queen Cotton or The Colour of England (the last of which is apparently in Technicolor).

All of these films are believed to be on 16mm according to another note made on the letter, this time in pen.
The letter also mentions an illustrated brochure of films that was produced. The sender mentions that he saw a reference to this brochure in the Times Educational Supplement. The sender was aiming to comment on some of the science films for the School Science Review.

Report of some practising English teachers on the British Council Educational Films: Pin Mould, Maize, Newt and Market Town
This report may become more useful once we have seen all the ‘lifecycle’ films as it could be an interesting idea to encourage some current school teachers to form a Teachers Film Group and discuss how they think young children would react to them today – perhaps include a children’s viewing as well

As for Market Town it is interesting to see that it belongs in the ‘geographical series’ according to the document. The ‘lifecycle’ films have been categorised as ‘biological films’ and are explicitly referred to as a series of films, all produced with a single purpose in mind. The report states, when summarising the reaction of Market Town that ‘all groups were rather reserved in their criticisms as they had seen no other members of the series and its link-up with them is not known.’ I assume Country Town is a fellow member of the series but what are the other members of the series? Did the British Council concentrate on making series of films or are these just exceptions for educational purposes?

The conclusion of the report states: ‘I think it has been valuable to get these views and opinions based as they are on direct classroom work. It should be, I feel, a procedure that should be regularly adopted in the case of all new British Council Teaching Films, as it is the voice of the practical teacher which is of more worth than the theoretical view of the pundit.’ The conclusion finishing paragraph refers to the BFI circulating more British Council Teaching Films stating that the films ‘could be circulated in more agricultural and semi-industrial areas and in that way a wider range of teacher opinion obtained.’

3rd October 1943 Letter to Primose from J.P Scothorne
The content of the letter describes the unfavourable reaction of Mr Scothorne’s committee towards the proposal of making a series of ‘citizenship films’. The only details revealed are that the committee are not against the idea of a study of the Neighbourhood but they do disagree with the controversial suggestions of Dr Cons’, seeing them as ‘not essentially citizenship’.

Scothorne also asks if he could watch Technical Education and Westminster Abbey, the latter of which he questions as to whether the film has been completed yet. (So Westminster Abbey would have been completed either 1943 or 1944 but could have been distributed later)
*Also check to see if there is a film called ‘George and Margaret’ in our catalogue, as it is mentioned in the letter.

3rd September 1943 Letter to Mr Richards, Director, Havard University Commission on English Studies, sent from the secretary of the Film Department
The letter states that the Film Department Secretary has sent Mr Richards a copy of a new catalogue entitled ‘Films of Britain 1943!’
*Perhaps Havard still have a copy of the catalogue?

3rd May 1943 Letter to Mr Todd from H.Bruce Woolfe
The letter concerns a discussion about filmstrips for the biological film series and mentions that there are no filmstrips left for the ‘Water Cycle’ film.
*Check if this film is in our archive. I also wonder where the filmstrips may have gone.

12th April 1943 Letter to K.T Gurney of the Foreign Office from the Film Department Secretary
The letter responds to Mr Gurney’s enquiry on what age group the
Embryology of the Rabbit was intended for. In his response the Film Department Secretary refers to this film as rounding ‘off the series which includes Sea Urchin, Development of the Chick, Development of the Trout, Development of the Frog previously made be G-B Instructional.’
The films just mentioned appear to be intended for university students as the letter states ‘this film is for students working for the Inter, or the first M.B.’
There is also a junior series of films for children aged 11 plus. This includes Life Cycle of the Onion. One film that was proposed Behaviour of the Cat was changed to Behaviour of the Horse for this series. * Is Behaviour of the Horse in our archive?