Christmas At Peace

Collection: London Screen Study Collection
ID No.: n/a
Title: Christmas At Peace
Date: 20 December 1945
Film-maker: Pathé
Colour: Black & White
Sound: Sound
Duration of complete item: 4 min. 28 sec.
Themes: Post-war Reconstruction


A Pathé Gazette film celebrating the first Christmas since the end of the war.


The film opens with scenes at a toy factory. The commentary states that "austerity still rules the roost...but there's that old holiday feeling in the air". Images of the factory production line are followed by children looking at the new toys.

The film then moves on to illustrate curb-side traders and a thriving black market. We are told that, from street traders, balloons cost 2/6 and Christmas crackers were "16 bob the box". There are images of money and illicit goods changing hands on the street. On the black-market, the commentary states, a turkey could "pass through quite a few hands, all with sticky fingers".

Illustrating Christmas celebrations for the "less fortunate", homeless men in a shelter are shown stirring the mixture for a large Christmas pudding.

Children are then shown at home making paper chains, putting up Christmas decorations and putting a sprig of mistletoe on a photograph.

Carol singers stand outside a family home singing "The First Noel". Indoors, a young girl says her bed-time prayers, thanking god for the return of her father from the war. The film ends with the title "To all who see - and all who show - Pathé Gazette - We send our - Seasonal Greetings".


The images of a factory producing children's toys stand in contrast to the images of munitions factories most often seen in newsreel films during the war. The factory is Lines Brothers of Merton which, during the war, turned it's machinery to making munitions and materials required for the war effort but here is seen retuning to toy manufacturing in peace time.

With rationing still in place, the black market in food and other goods was as strong as ever in the immediate post-war period. The film only lightly condemns the trade. However the film's main focus in on the spread of seasonal good-will for the first Christmas of peace in six years.




View this film online
along with thousands of other newsreel films
on the British Pathé website.