Town & family scenes – Clacton-on-sea - War time Christmas

  • Theme - Christmas
  • Year - 1939
  • Location - Colchester
  • Filmmaker - Herbert Lyne Smerdon


This is an historic reel of film. This was the first war time Christmas the people of Britain had to experience. At their home in Clacton, the Smerdon family prepare for the traditional celebration. They sort Christmas cards, make paper chains and plan where to hang decorations. A modest tree is brought in to the house.B ut it's not just Christmas as usual - there is a poignant reminder that the country is at war. Blackout boards are put up at the windows - complete with paper chains. The youngest son, Peter is filmed playing at soldiers and then working hard with a carpentry kit.
Bertha Smerdon then carves the turkey at their traditional Christmas lunch. Peter and brother John then set to work with the Meccano set - a popular metal construction kit.

The film was made by Herbert Lyne Smerdon, a photographer with the East Essex Gazette, formerly the Clacton Times. He and his wife Bertha lived with their four children, Kathleen, John, Monica and Peter at 120 Dudley Road, Clacton. The family had to leave the house as it was taken over by the army during the war. The children were evacuated in1940 after a German plane crashed when flying over English coast.


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  • Part of my Grandfather's collection. Nice to see it available to the public.By: Charles Gould - 2242 days ago
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