BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Essentially British?: Springtime in an English Village (1948)

Material to accompany the BFI Mediatheque 'Essentially British' DVD.

Main image of Essentially British?: Springtime in an English Village (1948)
35mm, black and white, 7 mins
Production CompanyColonial Film Unit
SponsorMinistry of Information
Focus Questions
In the Classroom

A young black girl is crowned Queen of the May in a Northamptonshire village.

Springtime in an English Village (1948) offers an unexpected snapshot of rural life in the 1940s. After a fairly predictable opening - farmers ploughing fields, baby animals gambolling - a young black girl is selected and crowned Queen of the May. The exact provenance of the film is unknown. While it was clearly made by the Colonial Film Unit, it's purpose is unclear. However, it was most likely produced for screening throughout Britain's African colonies, to demonstrate 'typical' life in the UK at a time when the government was on the look out for cheap labour.

Follow the link to In The Classroom at the top of this page for teaching suggestions linked to History and Citizenship. In Focus Questions you'll find suggestions for questions to focus students' attention while watching the film. These will also help to develop their understanding of film language.

Video Clips
Downloadable Teaching Resources

Related BFI Mediatheque Titles

Thumbnail image of Essentially British? White Tribe (2000)Essentially British? White Tribe (2000)
Thumbnail image of Essentially British?: I'm British But... (1989)Essentially British?: I'm British But... (1989)

Related Films and TV Programmes

Related Lessons and Resources

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 Citizenship: White Tribe (2000)KS3/4 Citizenship: White Tribe (2000)

What will Britain look like in 50 years time?