[Air Raid Practice - Knoll School Hove]

Archive: Screen Archive South East
ID No.: 451
Title: [Air Raid Practice - Knoll School Hove]
Date: ca. 1940
Film-maker: Mr H. Björkegren
Colour: Colour
Sound: silent
Duration of complete item: 14 min.
Themes: Children in War-time;
Civil Defence - Civilian Services


Made by the wardens and officers of Hove's Air Raid Precautions 'M' Group, this film demonstrates the air raid drills in a Hove school. Intertitles precede each scene.


Opening credits explain that this film should "assure parents that precautions have been taken to safeguard the children in the event of air raids". The schoolchildren are shown sitting at their desks in class, when a young boy gives the signal they all reach for their gas mask boxes and calmly don their masks. In a domestic science class an air raid drill interrupts the girls' cooking and ironing. The girls quickly turn off all the power in the kitchen before grabbing their coats and leaving. Pupils are shown in a variety of lessons before they are interrupted by the warning siren.

In the playground Air Raid Precaution wardens direct people to their positions. The first aid squad make their way to their post - a shelter covered in sandbags. Again, the children make their way calmly and quickly out of the building. They run in orderly lines to the shelters. They continue their lessons inside the shelter, each child reading their own book. Once the all-clear is given they file back out of the shelter and play in the playground. A staged scene shows a girl falling over and she is taken to the first-aider who bandages her knee. Younger children play ring-a-roses in the playground while others build models. The final shot shows a young boy and girl on a rocking horse waving a Union Jack, spirits undampened.


The purpose of this film seems to have been to reassure parents of their children's safety in the event of an air raid attack during the school day. It was made by the members of the ARP (Air Raid Patrol) group who have gone to great lengths to emphasize the proficiency of evacuation procedures.

It is possible that the film was made just prior to, or at the very beginning of the war, as planning for Air Raid Precautions began as early as 1937. Colour stock would still have been widely available then too. However, it should be noted that the film stock is American so would have most likely have come from a source outside the UK.

The film-makers have made particularly good use of natural daylight for the classroom scenes. Interior shots in amateur productions are often under-exposed due to the slow film speed and lack of additional lighting equipment; this production has made excellent use of strong sunlight through large windows lighting the indoor subjects well.

Records at East Sussex Record Office indicated that Knoll School for boys, on the Old Shoreham Road in Hove, opened in 1931 with a girls school being established a few years later. The School closed in the 1980s and was replaced by a business centre.

[Air Raid Practice - Knoll School Hove] (ca.1940)

[Air Raid Practice - Knoll School Hove] (ca.1940)

[Air Raid Practice - Knoll School Hove] (ca.1940)

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