- Title: AN A.R.P. FILM. WARDEN'S POST 9 [Main Title]
- Film Number: MGH 6785
- Other titles: AMATEUR FILM BY UNIDENTIFIED CAMERAMAN [Alternative Title]
- Summary: Amateur film, with humorous rhyming titles and shot by an unidentified cameraman (possibly George M Brown), records the practice exercises and routine activities of an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) Warden's Post at East Barnet in North London, which is manned by locals, each named and introduced to the camera. Untitled colour sequence added to end of film records a wartime fete in a park in Barnet partly intended to raise funds for the suburb's wardens.
- Description: Reel one (black and white): AN A.R.P. FILM. WARDEN’S POST 9. A POST WHICH WAS ALMOST DISUSED, WHERE COBWEBS AND FUNGHI HAD GROWN. BUT THROUGH THE WARDENS’ GOOD WORK OF DISPELLING THE DIRT, IT IS NOW THE ENVY OF ALL IN THE “ZONE”. Shot of the exterior of Post 9 and immediate surrounding area including post box on the pavement. Interior views of Post 9 [underexposed] including warden helmets hung up on wall, A.R.P. manuals and telephone on desk. THESE CONTAIN RECORDS OF ALL IMPORTANT HAPPENINGS, ALSO OF HOUSES IN THE AREA, THE OCCUPANTS, THEIR SHELTERS AND STIRRUP PUMPS, ALSO THE WARDENS’ RATIONS – OXO, CHOCOLATE, BISCUITS AND CHEESE. Close up views of A.R.P. log book for Post 9. Entry for Sunday 3 September 1939: 1100 War declared. 1140 Air raid warning. All wardens reported for duty. 1200 All clear. Entry for Monday 18 November 1940: 2024 Alert. On duty – D.D.W. [Deputy Duty Warden] Lovely, G. Skinner. 2048 All clear. 2205 Yellow warning. 2216 Alert. D.D.W Lovely, A.L. Grimes, G.Skinner. 2351 All clear. 0024 Yellow warning. 0029 Alert. D.D.W. Lovely, A.L. Grimes. Bomb watchers of Lyonsdown Road and Lyonsdown Avenue notified. 0506 All clear. 0537 Alert. 0750 All clear. NOW HERE COMES OUT POST WARDEN RUGG, WHO GIVES HIS BLANKETS A HEAVE AND A TUG, WHEN HIS DUTY IS DONE LOOKING OUT FOR THE HUN HE SLEEPS LIKE A BUG IN A RUG. Warden Rugg smiles at the camera wearing the white helmet worn by chief wardens. OUR DEPUTY WARDEN MELLOR IS A SPORT AND A REGULAR FELLER, MIDST THE BOMBS DEADLY DIN, HE WILL OFTEN DROP IN TO SAMPLE THE TEA IN “OUR CELLAR”. Warden Mellor walks towards the camera with his pipe in his mouth. OUR DEPUTY POST WARDEN HEARN, FOR HIS HOME COMFORTS OFTEN DOFT YEARN. NO WONDER HE SIGHS FOR HIS WIFE’S CAKES AND PIES, THEY WOULD CAPTURE A HEART MUCH MORE STERN. Warden Hearn smiles at the camera [underexposed]. MISS GRIMES WHO IS CHRISTENED AGNETA, HAS A SMILE FOR ALL THOSE WHO MEET HER. HER DUTIES ARE VARIED BUT WHEN THERE IS AN AIR RAID, FOR HER SPEED TO THE POST NO ONE CAN BEAT HER. Warden Grimes keeping watch. THEN SARVER WHO WORKS AT CONTROL, INTO DUTY PUTS BODY AND SOUL. HAS A CRATER BEEN FOUND DEEP IN THE GROUND? HE’LL TELL YOU THE SIZE OF THE HOLE. Warden Sarver smiling at the camera, with his black warden’s helmet at a jaunty angle. WITH LOVELY THERE’S NOTHING THAT RHYMES, THO’ IT’S EASY WITH WALTER AND GRIMES, BUT WITH HIS CAMERA CANDID, HIS PICTURES ARE LABELLED AS HE FEELS INCLINED. Warden Lovely laughs self-consciously at the camera. OUR WARDEN TELEPHONIST BROWN, WHOSE DIMPLES ARE THE TALK OF THE TOWN. WHEN THE TELEPHONE RINGS HER WORK THEN BEGINS AND CONTINUES UNTIL WE CLOSE DOWN. Warden Brown chatting in front of the camera. BUT WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITHOUT WRIGHT, WHO SEES THAT OUR COMFORTS ARE RIGHT. SHOULD OUR MATTING CURL UP, WHERE’S A HOOK FOR A CUP? TELL WRIGHT AND IT’S FIXED BEFORE NIGHT. Warden Wright stood chatting in front of Post 9. OUR WARDEN AND TREASURER VELLACOTT IF HE WOULD, I AM SURE HE COULD TELL A LOT. WITH HIS PENCIL AND BOOK, OUR POCKETS HE’LL ROOK, AND IF YOU’RE NOT WIDE AWAKE HE’LL TAKE THE LOT. Warden Vellacott walks quickly past the camera. HERE IS WARDEN TELEPHONIST SKINNER, FOR DUTY LEAVES HER BATH AND HER DINNER. WERE IT NOT FOR THE “BLITZ” SHE MIGHT DINE AT THE RITZ. NOW ‘TIS FEARED SHE MAY STILL LOSE HER DINNER. Warden Skinner stood in doorway of Post 9. THERE IS GRIMES NICKNAMED GORDON, A STAUNCH AND RELIABLE WARDEN. AT THE SIREN’S SHRILL BLAST OUT HE RUNS GOOD AND FAST, BLARING WHISTLE AND TYING HIS CORD ON. Warden Grimes stood on pavement outside Post 9, with road sign for Lyonsdown Road visible behind him. ANOTHER STOUT FELLOW NAMED TYE, MAKES US LAUGH WITH HIS HUMOUR SO DRY. LEAVES HIS WIFE WITH MISS GRIMES AND COMES FORTH AT ALL TIMES, TO PROVE HE’S A TRUSTY STAND-BY. Warden Tye standing outside Post 9. THIS IS OUR LARGE YOUTHFUL WARDEN CALLED WALTER, WHO HAS YET TO BE LED TO THE ALTAR. ALTHOUGH COMATOSE IN HIS BUNK TO HIS TOES, HE WILL JUMP WHEN THE LOOK-OUT CALLS WALTER! Warden Walter standing outside Post 9. AND MAYBERRY (NEE WAPLE), SO FAIR, DOES OUR TYPING WITH THE GREATEST OF CARE, WHAT E’ER IT MAY BE, IT’S DELIGHTFUL TO SEE WITHOUT A COMMA LEFT BARE. Warden Mayberry standing at the entrance of Post 9, with other wardens stepping out of the building behind her. NOW FOR RUGG’S PA-IN-LAW SYMES, WHO IS OFTEN ON DUTY WITH GRIMES. THOUGH HE FINDS IT UPSETTING TO SLEEPING ON WIRE NETTING, HE’S A SPORT AND CONFORMS WITH THE TIMES. Warden Symes stood chatting in front of the camera, with housing behind him. HEATH, AN EX-POLICEMAN SO BOLD, KNOWS MANY A TALE HE COULD UNFOLD. THOUGH HIS LOT WAS NOT A HAPPY ONE, HE THINKS IT’S NOW A “SNAPPY” ONE, SINCE WITH US HE’S BEEN ENROLLED. Warden Heath smoking cigarette outside Post 9 (does not appear to be wearing a uniform in this shot). THIS IS OUR WARDEN NAMED NEWTH, IN HIS SHORTS LOOKS NO MORE THAN A YOUTH. BUT PERHAPS HE IS MORE AS HIS TIN HAT’S LAST WAR; YOU ASK HIM AND FIND OUT THE TRUTH. Warden Heath in civilian clothing pretending to make notes in a notepad and smiling at the camera. AMID THEIR SURROUNDINGS SERENE, THE WARDENS THEY NUMBER SIXTEEN. THEIR DUTIES ARE MANY, BUT THEY DON’T GET A PENNY, AND HERE THEIR ACTIVITIES ARE SEEN. INCENDIARY BOMB DEMONSTRATION. Female warden carrying large bucket of water towards makeshift building built on open area [possibly a playing field]. Building constructed using corrugated iron panels and wooden posts. Piles of kinder are made and a number of small fires are lit. The wardens then demonstrate how to put such small fires out. Lots of local people in civilian clothing watch the demonstration. Ends with a presentation from the chief warden. Reel two (black and white): MESSAGES ARE RECEIVED FROM AND SENT TO “CONTROL” AT ALL TIMES. Wardens sat at table underneath some trees outside Post 9. One warden stands up and passes a piece of paper (possibly a message or report) to female warden in civilian clothing who then walks into the building. Wardens standing outside Post 9 talking together. THE STIRRUP PUMP MUST BE TESTED REGULARLY. Warden operates the stirrup pump, adjusting the water pressure where required. DISTINGUISHED VISITORS. Newspaper cutting featuring the visit of Admiral Sir Edward Evans, London Civil Defence Regional Commissioner, to Post 9. Wardens standing outside Post 9 shaking hands with Admiral Evans who then departs by car (registration number BXR 417). Cars on Lyonsdown Road. THE D.W. PASSES BY [Deputy Warden?] Car passes camera, heading from left to right. WE RECEIVE PERIODICAL VISITS FROM OUR D.D.W. Wardens in conversation [underexposed]. “YELLOW WARNINGS” ARE RECEIVED DURING CERTAIN HOURS. Warden asleep in bunk bed. The telephone rings and the warden awakes to answer the call. MESSAGE “YELLOW” RECEIVED. Taking message on telephone. PREPARATIONS ARE THEN MADE FOR ANY EMERGENCY. Warden climbs out of bed and puts on uniform and helmet, and slings his gas mask case over his shoulder. RED WARNING (THE SIREN) Cartoon image of siren. Warden cycling along empty street. A sign marked “AIR RAID WARNING IN OPERATION” is hung on a tree trunk. Warden walks across the street in the direction of the camera. Cartoon image of siren again. Warden walking along Lyonsdown Road blowing whistle, watched by children on bicycles. Warden hangs coiled up hosepipe on hook on tree. Several wardens stand outside Post 9 talking. Large buckets are carried out of Post 9 and placed on the ground. A “LOOK OUT” IS ON DUTY...AND A CRASH IS HEARD NEARBY. Warden emerges from post and looks around him and up at the sky, suddenly diving for cover. Other wardens walk out of the building having heard the noise. One of the wardens sets off along the road on a bicycle in search of the incident. IT IS SOON LOCATED. Warden returns quickly to the post. Female warden answers the telephone. BARNET 5851. Shot of typed message indicating that there are casualties trapped at the junction of Lyonsdown Road. PROCEEDING TO INCIDENT. Wardens walking to attend the incident. Back at Post 9 other wardens gather equipment and head to the incident. INVESTIGATIONS ARE COMPLETED AND THE M.I. REPORT IS SENT BY MESSENGER TO BE TELEPHONED TO “CONTROL”. Warden returns on bicycle and drops off message. Female warden telephones message through. THE ALL CLEAR HAS BEEN GIVEN AND THE AREA HAS BEEN EFFECTIVELY PATROLLED. The air raid warning sign is taken down. A warden departs by bicycle, later returning to the post. THE OTHER SERVICES HAVING COMPLETED THEIR WORK DEPART, LEAVING THE INCIDENT UNTIL CLOSED UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE WARDENS. Wardens departing on foot and bicycle. SHELL FRAGMENTS. Warden standing in street inspecting shell fragments [underexposed]. RELAXATION. Wardens chatting inside post wearing their helmets, drinking tea and eating cakes and biscuits. AND SO TO BED. Warden sleeping in bunk bed. Reel three (colour): Scenes at local fete in Barnet in the grounds of a large house, summer 1940. Woman in 19th century style clothing hands a carnation to a man in civilian clothing which he then secures in a button hole on his suit jacket. People wearing different costumes including a rabbit style suit. Visitors milling around the stalls. Views of stall run by the wardens, with a sign "Come on Barnet" hung at the front of the stall (presumably urging the people of Barnet to financially support their ARP wardens). Visitors playing the "Try Your Pick" game at the wardens' stall (a topical version of the traditional coconut shy, with cardboard cut outs of Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering, Josef Goebbels and (?) Otto Strasser, instead of coconuts). Colourful flags and bunting. Ends with general view of the crowds milling around the stalls.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM (MGH 6785)
- Featured Period:
- Production Date: 1940
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details:
- Personalities, Units and Organisations:
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W (part Colour [Kodachrome]) Sound format: Silent Soundtrack language: English
- Technical Details: Format: 16mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 3 Footage: 645 ft; Running time: 24 mins
- Notes: The donor speculated that the cameraman may have been his maternal grandfather, George M Brown.
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