Time On Their Hands

1938 , Norwich (Norfolk)

The work of the Mutual Services Clubs, Norwich in alleviating unemployment, and a visit by the King and Queen to the Club.

After a brief interview with the General Organiser, the work of the club in providing allotments for the unemployed is explained. A clerk deals with a crowd indoors and then a general shot of seed and equipment precedes a weighing of potatoes. A man digs his plot, turning over meadow land. The next sequence is of the indoor workshops including woodwork, cobbling and tailoring. The sport section includes scenes from football matches, a cricket match, a bowls match as well as shots inside a billiard hall with men playing billiards. The Cup Final is played at Carrow Road. The Girls Club and Wives Club show the woman sewing, knitting and reading as well as playing a game similar to bingo. A sequence showing Christmas parcels distributed by officials and then others are taken across a snow covered courtyard and loaded into a Rover car for distribution. The film depicts the canteen as well as the coal club and the fish club. The Ladies Working Party are knitting and sewing. The film also covers the activities for the blind, including a concert where an accordionist and a pianist entertain. Lifeboat Day depicts a RNLI van being unloaded, the goods including davits and collecting boxes. A trip out on the Yarmouth lifeboat to the St. Nicholas Lightship is filmed. The Club's publicity, showing the editor of the Club journal `Whither', then the staff and the production process. The journal is loaded into a van carrying an advertisement for the National Volunteers Auxiliary Fire Service. The film also shows some of the fund-raising events, including the Eaton House Garden Fete. Here radio personality Miss Anona Winn makes the opening speech and presents prizes before trying her hand at bar billiards and other side-shows. Sir G. Ernest and Lady White attend the Costessey Fete. The film concludes with Our Great Day, a record of the visit of the King and Queen to the Club during their visit to Norwich to open City Hall. They sign the visitors' book and meeting officials and members of the Club. The Royal couple depart in an open Daimler.

Featured Buildings

Norwich City Football Ground, Carrow Road

Featured Events

The visit of HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to the Mutual Services Club, Norwich, October 29th, 1938

Keywords

Mutual Service Clubs, Royal visits; Social welfare; Unemployment

Intertitles

Interview with the General Organiser. Allotments. Paying in. Digging his plot. Workshop.Sport. Football. An area match. Cup Final. Cricket. Bowls. Organisers and Staff V. The Rest. Billiards. 45 Club. Girls Club. Wives Club. Social Service. Christmas Parcels. Canteen. Hospital. Coal Club. Fish Club. Ladies Working Party. Blind Room. Blind Concert. Lifeboat Day. A reward for service. A trip on the lifeboat. Publicity.The Club Journal. Preparing and dispatching 'Whiter'. Miss Anona Winn at Eaton House Garden Fete. Sir G. Ernest and Lady White at Costessey Garden Fete. Our Great Day. Their most gracious Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visit the club Oct. 29th 1938. His Majesty said: "We had to stay, it was all so interesting". The End.

Background Information

The Norwich Unemployment Welfare Association. During the 1920s, the Industrial Christian Fellowship, a Church of England organisation, investigated the problem of mass unemployment in Norwich. The outcome of this was to set up the Norwich Unemployment Welfare Association in 1929. Organised by Oliver Findlow, the aim of the Association was to help the unemployed avoid bitterness and disillusionment; to create opportunities for mutual participation rather than to depend on charity. Open air meetings were held in Norwich Market Place to find out what the men wanted..The men wanted somewhere to go; a rest room. In conjunction with the City Council a room in a disused shoe factory on the site of the present City Hall was found along with materials for the men to refurbish it. It was filled with twenty years of pigeon droppings which Findlow sold. With the proceeds he brought a gramophone and some books. Initially the men refused to work claiming that it would be scab labour unless they were paid union rates for the work. Eventually the problems were ironed out and the first Mutual Services Club was underway. Later a three storey house in Pottergate was rented from the Colman family for a peppercorn rent. The aims of the Norwich Unemployment Welfare Association were to stimulate and encourage a sense of comradeship; to encourage men to regain and retain their craftsmanship; to promote an interest in other issues; to provide facilities for recreation and sport and to advise and help in case of need. The Pottergate club consisted of offices, a games room, a canteen, a room for the blind, concert and lecture rooms, and a quiet room that served as a chapel, a library and workshops.A number of schemes were put into operation. With the assistance of the City Works Department and the Quakers, 300 allotments were provided rent free to enable the men to grow food to feed their families. Men gave an outlay of 12 shillings for tools and seed.A carpentry shop was set up where the men paid only for what they used. All products were for personal use; nothing could be sold. Old boots and shoes were given by the people of Norwich. Under the guidance of a cobbler, the men repaired them for their own family using leather donated by one of the local shoe factories, usually offcuts. There was a club for unemployed women and girls and unemployed musicians set up an Orchestra. District clubs were founded in Lakenham, Thorpe, Mile Cross, Heigham and New Costessey. Between 1932 and 1939 the Mutual Services Clubs dealt with over 30,000 men and women. One of the friends of the Association paid for this film.The Royal Visit. The King and Queen were scheduled to stay for ten minutes - they stayed for three quarters of an hour. Anona Winn was a singer, actress and radio personality. Born in Sydney in 1904, she became a singer before appearing in The Merry Widow, The Blue Mazurka and Fancy Meeting You. Shortly before her appearance here she had founded her own dance band Anona Winn and the Four Winners. She was later famous as a panellist on Twenty Questions.

Manifestations

Time On Their Hands

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