An Excerpt from the film "Children's Charter" 1945.
Here is a short 2-minute movie clip starring:
Mr CH 'Steamboat' Steemson taking a Latin class,
Mr EF 'Ticker' Cole taking a Chemistry class,
& Miss EM 'Duchess' Hill taking an English lesson.
If anyone can recognise any faces, please e-mail me.
Recognised from these stills so far are:
In the 2nd still: Mr CH Steemson;
In the 3rd still: Michael Cleary (2nd from back, next to window), Hugh Lambert (in front of Cleary);
In the 4th still: l. to r.: Mr "Ticker" Cole, John Mainwaring, Peter Crabbe;
In the 5th still: Miss EM Hill, with Colin Jarvis centre facing camera (who speaks the lines "By the pricking of my thumbs..."); others unidentified.
This video clip may take a little while to download, so why not read the rest of this page in the meantime.
I saw part of this movie clip in a TV program some time ago, and recognising 'Steamboat' straight away, I did a lot of chasing around to try and find out were it came from and when.
I managed to get some valuable input from scholars of Dorchester Grammar School around 1945, to whom I am extremely grateful. In particular, I would like to thank Graeme Browne for sending me a copy of the complete film "Children's Charter" on video tape, from which I have extracted the above clip.
From the (sometimes conflicting) evidence that has been forwarded to me, it appears most likely that the film was shot in the summer of 1944.
Here follows a compilation of the various inputs I received, which tell the story:
"I well remember the Crown Film Unit arriving at the school. The Crown film unit was the old GPO Film unit that was taken over by the Government at the beginning of the war and turned into the Crown Film Unit. The unit made a number of famous wartime films most notably "Target for Tonight". The unit was dissolved in 1952 but the film containing the clip about the school was as you correctly guessed shot in I guess around 1945-47 and was a documentary I imagine about the Butler Education Act of 1945. I saw the clip some years ago on the television and as well as Mr Steemson teaching Latin there was also a shot of Mr Cole teaching me and the others of my class Chemistry. There was certainly more film shot than appeared in the clip I saw and we were certainly filmed at morning assembly where I remember we were sternly told not to look at the camera." - Tony Rogers ('40-'49).
"At some time between 1942 & 1944, but probably in 1943, a wartime Ministry of Information film
called "Children's Charter" was made at the school.
I am unable to recall the Steamboat sequence, but I was involved in a scene filmed in the
Chemistry Lab. Peter Crabbe was conducting an experiment and I was taking notes. Peter was using
a chemical balance, and said, "Please Sir, there don't seem to be enough weights in the box". Whereupon, the hyperactive
Ticker Cole bounded into the scene and demonstrated the correct sequence for using the weights...
I do recall that the complete film was shown to us in the Corn Exchange."
- Ian Ellis ('41-'46).
(Note: Terry Parsons & Ian Carr have pointed out that the identity of Peter Crabbe here is mistaken - Peter Crabbe is the boy on the right in the previous scene with Ticker Cole - see the 4th still photo above.)
"The clip you have with Steemson is where he is discussing the conjugation of a verb with 'Hooty' Lambert. In the 1970s I obtained a 16mm print of the film and gave it to the [Hardyeans] club; it was subsequently lost during the move to the new school. However on the 18th of March  I shall give Iain Melvin a video copy of the complete film." - Graeme Browne ('43-'50).
"I remember a film unit at the school in the summer of 1945 and particularly the filming of morning assembly in the gym led by R.W.Hill. We understand the film was to be entitled "Children's Charter"". - FJ Thomas ('38-'45).
"I was present at the filming of the Ministry of Information documentary, "Children's Charter" which was made to provide a commentary on the 1944 Butler Education Act. I was not considered as photogenic as Vic Kendall, Hooty Lambert or John Hart, who featured in the final cut. As well as 'Steamboat's' Latin lesson, Ticker Cole (Chemistry) was shown doing some sort of experiment, I think. Lambert was the son of the architect of the Cricket Pavilion on the Old School site, now shamefully demolished." - David Nichols ('42-'49).
"[The excerpt shows] Hugh 'Hooty' Lambert, who was a very popular boy whom I remember as the School hurdle champion who went to Oxford. In answer to Steamboat's request for a declension, instead of 'potueram-potueras-potuerat' (I think) Hooty came out with 'potebam-potebas-potebat' and you can hear Steamboat say 'potebat? cricket bat! come on Lambert'. Steamboat was a stern but very likeable Latin master and also coached the under 14 cricket team. Net practice with him was good but also a delightful entertainment. On one occasion he was teaching us about cover drives and Don Kemp (later to become Head Boy and England schoolboy front row forward), having made a complete cobblers repeatedly, was informed that he was 'a proper Charlie' --- he was known as 'Chas' for the rest of his school days! ... I really enjoyed my schooldays and am very sad to meet many people who tell me that school was awful." - John Rawlins (mid '40s - early '50s).
"I can recall the producton of a mini cricket bat by 'Steamboat' in my years there, when anyone saying 'potebat' would have the administration of the cricket bat on the bottom before having to sign the bat on the back. Luckily I avoided this indignity as did most as it was such a good memory aid." - Ron Cave ('52-'59).
"Mr E F (Edward Fletcher) ‘Ticker’ Cole, teaching Chemistry, was my Grandfather. This film was made 8 years before I was born. He used to live in South Court Avenue. My uncle, Edward Cole went to this school as did my brother, Roy Stevens (He left in 1966). My Grandfather died in 1971. My mother (his daughter) is still alive at age of 87 years." - Joan Desmond - November 2008.
"I was in the chemistry lab with John Mainwaring, Peter Crabbe and 'Ticker' Cole, when 4 Alpha was being filmed during the summer term in 1944. Several sequences were shot at the time and shown to the staff later, including one in which another boy and I were seen neutralising acid from a burette with pipettes. But according to 'Ticker', this was omitted because neither of us was wearing a school blazer! The boy who was handling the weights is Brian Etheridge, and I believe that the boy on the left in the photo of the Latin class is Dennis Markey. He and Vic Kendall were 'buddies', and I happened to bump into them both at the China Fleet Club in Hong Kong, during our period of National Service." - John Hansen ('41-'47).
"Assembly Exit Scene: Boy 'purposefully' walking from left to right in front of camera:- Hart, John.
Steemson Latin Class (3rd still): Pupil to right of (and in front of) Hooty Lambert:- Etheridge, C (also name-addressed by Ticker Cole in Chem. Lab weighing sequence).
Duchess's Shakespeare Class: Final speaking-part, referring to 'hags':- Abbott, J (Good sprinter; moved to Reading; had pronounced adolescent-growth-spurt; Oxford Rugby-Blue).
- Ian Carr - October 2009.