Some months ago, while clearing out a dusty cupboard accessible only by ladder, we made the exciting discovery of an old cardboard box stuffed with reels of cine-film. They were mostly carefully labelled and although we had no equipment on which to view them, thus revealed themselves to be an incredible historical record of Latymer School activities from c.1930s to c.1960s.
Much discussion ensued as to the most appropriate course of action; eventually it was decided to hand them over to Film London's "London's Screen Archives" project which is funded by The BFI, Heritage Lottery Fund and The National Archives.
After a long wait they are finally now being catalogued, cleaned and digitised, and the first few have now appeared for viewing on the on-line database at www.londonsscreenarchives.org.uk (type "Latymer" into the search box), with more to follow in due course.
Of particular interest are some of the school plays from the late 1940s which include probably the earliest recorded stage performance of one of Britain's most loved actresses - Dame Eileen Atkins, a pupil at Latymer from 1945-50. We were also relieved to find the professionally-made film of the Queen Mother's visit to Latymer in 1966 (taken at some expense - we knew because we had the invoice to hand, but not the film!). This documents the opening ceremony of the new gyms and technology classrooms and so provides an intriguing picture of the building and school community as it was half a century ago - there will be many familiar faces for anyone who knew the school in the 1960s!
Hope you enjoy watching what’s there now; check back in a few weeks for more films being added.
Emma Halstead Administrator, The Latymer Foundation Archive