Having attended Emmanuel Primary School in Rhyl, I always suspected the Christ Church School lads to be a riotous lot… and here is the evidence dating from 1902! The girls on the other hand seem a very sedate crowd.
Many in this picture may be the relatives of friends I still have in the town.
It is sad to think that many of these lads would have been eligible for call up in the First World War and would never return to the town to resume their lives.
This is an early cinema pioneer Arthur Cheetham film.
The BFI caption reads:
“Pupils pour from their narrow doorway onto the street, the rain dampening no-one’s spirits as they leapfrog and piggyback on the thoroughfare, amid carts and passers-by, a chimney sweep lounging decoratively centre-frame. A boys’ ‘strong horse’ formation soon falls apart but it hardly matters, as the point is to look lively for the camera – it will all draw people to the local cinema!
Arthur Cheetham (1865-1937) was an entrepreneur, cinema proprietor and pioneer filmmaker – the first in Wales to film scenes and events for his own shows. 12 of his 47 films, shot mostly from 1898 to 1904, survive partly or wholly. In turn-of-century Rhyl, elementary education was denominational, with schools being ‘British’ as seen here (Nonconformist) , ‘National’ (Anglican), and Catholic. In 1983 Mrs Adelaide Owen (the chimney sweep’s niece) recalled helping Cheetham, as a young teacher, film pupils emerging from the schools: ‘I kept every child on the go. So there was a constant stream’.”