Mystery NUWT film

I’ve just had an exciting find and thought I’d share it straight away! It’s a very intriguing run of letters from 1936 in the East Anglian County Association correspondence which refer to a film being made by the Association.  The letters are between a member, Eve Casseretto, and the General Secretary Ethel Froud, and they talk about this film that was made without really discussing what it was about or why it was made (I assumed as part of a membership drive).  It was evident that the film had been made by Eve Casseretto but I had to go back to early 1935 correspondence to discover what it was about (this often happen as most of the folders are ordered chronologically starting with most recent and ending with the earliest material, meaning that, to make sense of things, I have to start at the back and read forwards.)

NUWT Collection ref UWT/D/392/1, ©Institute of Education Archive

As you can see in the letter above from April 1935 the film showed a ‘brief history of the Association, outdoor activities in county and city schools, and members at work and play’. Another letter mentions that it was 9.5mm and more letters discuss the addition of an extra piece of film to show the membership trophy.  The membership trophy was given to the branch/County Association with the largest increase in membership figures for that year and in 1935 this was the East Anglian County Association.  On 4th July 1935 Eve Casseretto wrote to Ethel Froud ‘I am glad to hear that you have no objection to the East Anglian film. We had started work in this direction although I was in great fear & trepidation lest you disapproved of the idea’. Obviously not as the next day Ethel Froud writes back ‘I am delighted to hear that arrangements are in progress for the film to be taken and we shall hope to have an exhibition of it in some way later’.  So, maybe the film was only organised by, rather than made by, Miss Casseretto? I wonder why she thought Ethel Froud might disapprove as, even this early on, the NUWT were very supportive of innovations in the use of film in education. 

The correspondence continues right through to 1960 but after 1936 there is no more mention of the film.  What happened to it? Where did it go? There were no films received with the NUWT Archive here at the Institute of Education so chances are the film itself stayed with the branch, or with Eve Casseretto herself. How successful was it? I wonder if it helped increase membership/was popular with other NUWT branches and County Associations? If so, it might have been a factor in the strong NUWT support for the 1951 equal pay propaganda film made by Jill Craigie ‘To Be a Woman’.  I’ve contacted the East Anglian Film Archive and the Norfolk Record Office in Norwich so if I find out any more about the film I’ll update this post!


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