This film is part of Free

Little Cripples Day

A generous display of charity from London - or just good PR for the politicians?

Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Silent



An ostentatious display of good deeds for the camera. With no visible sign of the 'cripples' themselves (the term makes us squirm now, but would have been acceptable at the time), this newsreel might look to a modern viewer more like a publicity photocall than an actual news report. Its focus is the top-hatted dignitaries pictured taking sending off food supplies from London's Guildhall - in showy horse and cart.

Everything here seems to happen for the benefit of the filmmakers. A variety of angles suggests an elaborate camera setup, and the main players go about their business looking directly to the lens. Overseeing the ceremony is the moustachioed Sir William Henry Dunn, the Lord Mayor of London in 1916. The hamper bears the name of his predecessor, Sir William Treloars, who had set up a 'cripples' fund' during his time in office. The century-old footage could be clearer, but a food packet reading 'sliced ox tongue' is a nice detail.