To most they were just smiling faces captured on a very rare piece of film.
But to Godmanchester’s Porch Museum curator and documentary film-maker, Kate Hadley, the faces of the children that were filmed in the town nearly 80 years ago were the start of an investigation.
The film clip was shot in February 1934 when news cameras from film company Pathe Pictorial visited the town.
Among the footage captured was musician John Dayton playing his home-made organ to a crowd of children on West Street.
Kate saw the film and set about the task of tracking down some of the surviving children or their families.
Her interviews now form part of a new DVD called Children of Godmanchester — which follows a number of residents in the town after they watch their younger selves and embrace a lifetime of memories.
Sally George, 89, of Pettit Road, Godmanchester, was one of those children. She was 11 at the time.
Mrs George told The Hunts Post that seeing herself as a little girl all those years ago was very emotional, but recalled that the war years were “the best years of my life”. She married Airman George Mosely in 1940 and the couple lived in Singapore, where Mrs George became friendly with the Duchess of Kent. Her first impression of the old footage? She said how poor she looked compared to children of today, which made her feel embarrassed. “We were on rations and most of the time we were hungry," she said. “But everybody helped each other. After all we didn't know whether we were going to live or die from one day to the next."
The DVD also shows footage of a young Rose Allen, who went on to marry Bill Mortlock. Rose died in 2007, but for her daughter, Susan, who still lives in the house her parents bought on Cambridge Road in 1950, watching the footage was “an incredibly moving experience”.
She said: ‘‘it’s so unlikely to see footage from 1934 so this was incredible. Out of all the children in Godmanchester at the time, for my mum to be there with her friends was amazing."
Ms Hadley said: “I was very lucky I found so many people. It was really surprising to find they were all local families who had lived in Godmanchester for hundreds of years."
INFORMATION: Children of Godmanchester features several historical families from the area, including the Thompsons, the Leaches. the Markham’s and the Bengree’s.
It is available for £10 from the Porch Museum or by visiting www.godmanchester.co.uk The Porch Museum is open on Sunday, September 11.
CHILDREN OF GODMANCHESTER: (left to right, front row) Nancy Ryder, Sally George, Jean Bengree, Connie Jaques, Ethel Wilson and Rose Allen: INSET: Sally George today.
Article reproduced with the kind permission of The Hunts Post