Southsea Review

Archive: Wessex Film & Sound Archive
ID No.: AV100/1
Title: Southsea Review
Date: 1938
Colour: Colour
Sound: Silent
Duration of complete item: 17 min.
Themes: Pre-War Build-Up


Review of events in Portsmouth and Southsea in about 1938, including civil defence measures taken around the time of the Munich Crisis and the following Service of Thanksgiving in Guildhall square, taken by members of the Portsmouth Cine Club.


[This description covers a 2 min. Extract from the film, concerning the Munich Crisis and the following Service of Thanksgiving in Guildhall square]

The film shows the title 'The Crisis'. This is followed by different shots to form a titles montage. The film then includes footage of the people of Portsmouth preparing for bombs: including piling up sandbags in front of Portsmouth Guildhall (housing Municipal offices), digging trenches for air raid shelters, testing anti-aircraft guns on Southsea Common, and the Royal Observer Corps at post.

The title 'After Munich - Thanksgiving' is followed by footage of crowds assembled in Portsmouth Guildhall Square, with a Royal Marines Band and assembled dignitaries. The service is led by the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Dr Frank Partridge.


This film was deposited with a number of others on various gauges and audio tapes by the son of the film-maker Clifford Worley. He was a leading member of the Portsmouth Cine Club during the 1930s and collaborated with fellow members on a number of films, including ‘Southsea Review’, a silent newsreel of local events during 1938. The Club held public screenings of their films, and this one would have been accompanied by suitable music and commentary, added ‘live’. Events depicted in this film are typically parochial, such as dog shows, openings, funerals and even 'Bognor Regis and Portsmouth's Film Societies' joint outing' (to Windsor), but there were stories of national interest as well, such as the Royal Navy Spring Cruise, a visit by the Royal Family, and 'Television at the Municipal College'.

The Munich Crisis, as depicted in this film, is particularly interesting because it shows what was happening elsewhere in the country, in addition to the professional newsreel footage of Chamberlain in Munich and the famous return home waving his paper agreement signed by Hitler, shown in cinemas throughout the country. There was national rejoicing at this point, not least in Portsmouth, which regarded itself as a prime target should talks break down and war begin in 1938; hence the Thanksgiving service attended by thousands of local people.

Southsea Review (1938)

Southsea Review (1938)

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