This film is part of Free

Coronation Year - Festival of Hobbies

A fascinating glimpse into the world of post-war Britain with its extraordinary range of hobbies, before the TV set in the corner took over so much of working class leisure time.

Non-Fiction 1953 5 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


In the days before watching television could be listed as a hobby, here in the Leeds of 1953 we get a flavour of the rich variety of hobbies that involved rather more activity and creativity. We see the impressive working class skills of model making and embroidery on display. And among the numerous stalls there is one for the Philatelic Society, as well as one for basic stamp collecting; one for amateur movie making, as well as for the Leeds Camera Club, who made this film.

The Cine Circle of the Leeds Camera Club here reflect on themselves as hobbyists, when roughly a half of the population in Britain in the 1950s had at least one hobby. The sociologist of the period, Ferdynand Zweig, wrote at time that, “Hobbies give a man something to love and something to in which to find freedom . . . [when] a working man has very little freedom and must do what he dislikes.” Leeds Philatelic Society is still going strong, and the zoetrope itself remains a hobby for a few, though William Horner, who invented the first one called it "daedaleum" (after the mythical Greek craftsman), which had its slits in between the images, unlike the zoetrope seen here, devised by the American William Lincoln.