Holidays at Home

Archive: Northern Region Film and Television Archive
ID No.: n/a
Title: Holidays at Home
Date: 1944
Film-maker: Gateshead Police Photographic Department
Colour: Colour
Sound: Silent
Duration of complete item: 52 min.
Themes: Children in War-time; Community Life


Activities taking place in Gateshead during the Summer of 1944, including outdoor dancing, and a Punch and Judy show.


This film, made by a police officer in Gateshead, shows some of the communal activities which took place in Saltwell Park, Gateshead. The film shows the many pursuits at the park including American servicemen and English women in uniform dancing on the green, a Punch and Judy show, netball, bowling matches, races and pony riding.


In 1944, the Ministry of Information organised a publicity campaign to encourage Britons to take their ‘holidays at home’ – i.e. not to travel significant distances – in order to keep the transport infrastructure free to service the D-Day invasions.

The film is unusual, for its length, the detail that it offers and for being in colour. Colour film was not generally available to the public during the war, and McHugh may have obtained it through his police connections. This exceptional piece of film provides a very atmospheric picture of a community at leisure despite the war-time restrictions. The film also shows a conspicuous lack of fighting age men apart from the American GIs and many of the women are dancing with each other.

Holidays at Home paints a positive picture of social cohesion as the war entered its final year; though the effects of four years of conflict are under the surface.

See a different clip from this film, in the main Moving History website.

Holidays at Home (1944)

Holidays at Home (1944)

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