(October 2022) Amateur film making at Sibford School in 1949

Since the production of Leslie Baily’s first film about Sibford School in 1928, the Old Elm at the Ferris crossroads witnessed the many changes that followed the opening of the new school buildings on the Hill site adjacent to the old Sibford Manor school buildings. The school expanded and the new buildings were opened by Dame Elizabeth Cadbury in 1930. It was on this site, now known as the Main School, that all future building projects would eventually take place, including several boarding houses, the science block, the dining hall, sports hall, swimming pool and an art and music building.

While living in Sibford and being very active in the Old Scholars Association, some twenty years later, in 1949, a whole new film called The Sibford Story was written and produced by the same directors, Braithwaite-Morland and Leslie Baily. Their new and complete film included some of the most interesting scenes from the 1928 production but these were woven into a new texture. The film spans the one hundred years’ history of the Quaker boarding school reflecting the vast social changes in England – from the horse to the tractor, from Victorian segregation to modern co-education, from the three Rs to music and the arts, to changes in manners, methods and the manifold activities offered by the school. The more modern scenes filmed in 1948 are even in colour.

Once again, the film was very well received. The directors and actors were congratulated and received excellent reviews in the National Press. Not only had they made a successful film, they had also provided a valuable historical record of life at Sibford School from 1842 to 1949.

Now in 2022, 180 years after its opening, Sibford School currently provides education for children from 3 to 18 years of age. While much has changed those original values and Quaker ethos still remain at the heart of life within the school.

This concludes my series of articles about Leslie Baily – a Sibford School scholar, broadcaster, writer, film maker and historian who researched much of our village history while he lived in Sibford Gower during the 1940s and 1950s.

Maureen Hicks