Burnham Water Carnival

  • Theme - Events
  • Year - 1911
  • Location - Chelmsford
  • Filmmaker -


This film, shot in 1914, provides a valuable record of the Burnham-on-Crouch Town Regatta held that year. In the opening shots, the camera, clearly on board a vessel, pans along rows of boats packed with spectators. Men, women and children, all rather well dressed, turned out to watch the Carnival. The day’s events included a variety of races with some remarkable props - a ‘Tub and Shovel’ race sends the competitors in circles and the ‘Water Derby’, in which competitors sat astride floating hobby horses, made from barrels. A soot and flour fight takes place with participants in fancy dress.The phrase "Pull devil, pull baker " derives from an old folk tale where a baker's wife finds her husband wrestling with the devil. She wants to support her husband but fears retribution from the devil. The solution is to support both sides so she cries "pull devil..pull baker". It's likely that the baker's team are pelting their opponents with flour bombs while the devils are armed with soot!

This fun event, the Burnham Town Regatta, began in the mid nineteenth century but records show it was not continued after the 2nd World War.


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