War-time picnic at St Austell Bay

Archive: South West Film & Television Archive
ID No.: X2821
Title: War-time picnic at St Austell Bay
Date: 1940
Film-maker: Anonymous
Colour: Colour
Sound: Silent
Duration of complete item: 39 sec.
Themes: Home & Family Life


Colour film of a picnic on beach in St Austell bay, Cornwall, during war-time.


There are scenes of a family sitting and playing on the beach at St Austell, along with other families in the background. Steep cliffs can be seen behind the beach. On the shore front near where the family are sitting are war-time beach defences.


The film itself is very short but is exceptional as it shows rare colour footage of the coastal anti-invasion defences in place on the beaches, in the form of scaffolding pole structures. The actual defences themselves appear to be unfinished. These beaches were used by American forces later in the war, and were then sealed off to local use.

The scenes of the family relaxing and enjoying a picnic with these imposing obstacles as a backdrop goes some way to illustrating the contrasts of war-time where so much had changed but ordinary families, attempted at least, to carry on as normal.

The film forms part of a small collection of amateur film acquired by SWFTA from a family member. The family are still based in St Austell, and the donor’s father shot the film. It is the only wartime material in this collection.

War-time picnic at St Austell Bay (1940)

War-time picnic at St Austell Bay (1940)

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