Festival of Youth 1937 I

Scope and Content

Blue album with 'Snapshots' embossed on front cover containing 44 photographs 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 album belonged to Cicely M. 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 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.

The album contains images of the festival and in particular the demonstration by the physical training colleges - Cicely Read can be seen standing on a dais directing the display – and also rehearsals of the demonstration held in the gardens and playing fields of Bedford Physical Training College including a large group of Bedford students on bicycles, possibly cycling to or from the playing field. * Press cuttings reporting on the festival are pasted into the album.

* 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".

The album also contains scenes from the Bedfordshire National Fitness Display held on 1 July 1939 with gymnastic displays performed by College students and schoolchildren.