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Topical Budget 485-2: Christmas Work in the Open (1920)


Main image of Topical Budget 485-2: Christmas Work in the Open (1920)
35mm, black and white, 49 feet
Production CompanyTopical Film Company

Children at the Great Northern Hospital make their own Christmas decorations.

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This charming vignette shows sick children being encouraged to make their own Christmas decorations, presumably helping the hospital save money while also providing them with a pleasant creative distraction. Topical Budget would produce several items like this to add a note of seasonal cheer to its newsreel programmes, the last being the somewhat unfortunately-titled (albeit well-intended) Father Christmas Among the Cripples (Topical Budget 1009-1, 1930).

Christmas Work in the Open was filmed at the Great Northern Hospital, which then stood in London's Holloway Road. It had originally been established in King's Cross by Sherard Freeman Statham (1826-58), assistant surgeon at University College Hospital, with the aim of offering free medical care to the working-class north London poor. Initially able to open for two hours a day, it quickly expanded, moving to Caledonian Road after the original premises were subject to a compulsory purchase order by the Metropolitan Railway Company.

The new premises were considerably larger, with additional funding coming from charitable donations, bequests and regular income from the Midland, Great Northern and Metropolitan Railway Companies, whose employees were treated at the hospital. By 1888, the hospital had moved again, to the Holloway Road, which is where Topical Budget's cameras went to film this item. A few months after this newsreel was shown, the Great Northern was merged with the Royal Chest Hospital in City Road, the resulting organisation renamed the Royal Northern Hospital.

Michael Brooke

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Video Clips
Complete item (1:07)
Topical Budget 1009-1: Father Christmas Among The Cripples (1930)
Topical Budget 228-1: Little Cripples' Day (1916)
Topical Budget 485-2: 'Fatty' Arbuckle (1920)
Topical Budget 485-2: Distinguished Scientist's Remarkable Request (1920)
Topical Budget 485-2: General Booth's Return (1920)
Topical Budget 485-2: Georges Carpentier's Tribute (1920)