Festival of Youth 1937 II

Scope and Content

Series of 8 b/w photographs showing images relating to the Festival of Youth held at the Empire Stadium, Wembley on 3 July 1937 in the presence of King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.

The Festival of Youth was held in aid of King George's Jubilee Trust and consisted of demonstrations of physical training, maypole dancing and folk dancing by 1400 young men and women representing 40 organisations. The demonstration of educational gymnastics given by 350 students from Anstey, Bedford, Chelsea and Dartford Physical Training Colleges showed a series of rhythmic movements and vaulting and was organised and choreographed by Cicely Read, a former student of Bedford Physical Training College (1909-1911) and member of staff (1918-1945) and Principal of the College from 1945 until her death in 1949.

The images show rehearsals of the demonstration held in the playing fields of Bedford Physical Training College including a large group of Bedford students on bicycles (all dressed in hats and coats), possibly cycling to or from the playing field, * the parade of organisations inside Wembley Stadium and demonstrations - in particular the demonstration by the physical training colleges - Cicely Read can be seen standing on a dais directing the display.

* Note: Margaret Joan Hall from Set XXXIV (1935-1938) recalls that when cycling , the students used large safety pins to prevent "our coats flapping open to reveal our legs in an unseemly manner".