This film is part of Free

Boys Mudlarking in River

These lads are bound to take a dunk in the Thames

Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins


A group of men and boys larking about on the Thames riverside are impatient to take their turn on the greasy pole - it's a sure-fire way to get wet, but there's fun to be had in seeing who can stay on the slippery log the longest. And for one youth, the game itself isn't prank enough, so he dashes on to the pole in female drag, complete with a parasol and a long skirt that quickly becomes a liability once he's in the water.

British film pioneer Cecil Hepworth, who filmed these antics, described the short films he made in the area around his Walton-on-Thames office as "simple little things obtainable locally at no cost save that of the film-stock, and of very little interest to anybody". But they're still entertaining well over a century later.