The day Honitonians danced in the streets

RARE film footage of Honiton in the 1930s is to be screened in the town later this month.

RARE film footage of Honiton in the 1930s is to be screened in the town later this month.

The film shows coronation celebrations on Allhallows Field in 1937 and features the late Juanita Maxwell Phillips.

Retired Honiton businessman Jan Goodman said: "The film was taken by my father, who was a keen amateur film maker.

"His name is shown on the credits, along with many Honiton people who contributed to the success of the day.

"I don't think anyone outside my family has seen it since 1937 and we are really looking forward to sharing it with local people."

Tony Simpson, secretary of Honiton Senior Council, said: "This film shows 1937 was not only a special year but a time of 'people's celebration', which left a legacy for today.

Most Read

"We are lucky to have this recording and grateful to Jan and his family."

An exhibition of photographs and press cuttings, along with other memorabilia, will be held to coincide with the screening, which will take place at Honiton Methodist Church at 2pm on Monday, November 23.

The Mayor of Honiton, Councillor Vivienne Ash, will open the event.

Mr Simpson said: "Just as today, there had been a long recession; there were signs it was starting to lift.

"The abdication crisis was over and the mayor and town council were determined the coronation would provide an opportunity for people to enjoy themselves."

The film shows a grand parade of council officials, the Army, the police and fire brigade and Honiton's silver band in its new livery.

Other groups included the British Red Cross Society, women's groups, church groups, Brownies and Cub Scouts.

Following the parade, the film shows sports, dancing and entertainment.

Dozens of volunteers prepared a huge, communal tea for hundreds of locals in a great marquee in Allhallows Field.

Hundreds of sandwiches were made at "80 slices to a pound of butter".

Mr Goodman also filmed the presentation of mugs to 700 children, along with medals provided by Juanita and the opening of the Glen.

Some of these children are today's seniors and may recognise themselves or family members.

That evening, Honiton broke the mould when Juanita got the police and council to agree to "fiesta-style" dancing in Honiton's streets until early in the morning.

"This was the first time this had happened since the hated toll roads were abolished," said Mr Simpson.

Teas, coffees and biscuits will be served at the film's screening. All are invited to attend.