Suffolk

Actress Diana Quick in search for 1930s Aldeburgh girls

They are grainy images that capture a bygone era as a group of young women from London enjoy a seaside holiday in Suffolk.

The footage, filmed on a houseboat break in Aldeburgh, in 1932, has been buried in an archive for decades.

Now, nearly 80 years on, it has emerged the women in the clip have unwittingly found a unique place in the town's history.

The film is thought to be the earliest footage of the upmarket resort to have been recorded.

Actress Diana Quick is leading an effort to trace the women as part of her role as director of the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Actress Diana Quick is looking to trace women from the 1932 footage

"We were trawling through the news archives and came up with this extraordinary clip," said Ms Quick, best known for her role in the television adaptation of Brideshead Revisited.

'Whimsical footage'

"Some of the girls in the film were quite young, which is why we thought there might be a chance of finding them.

"It's likely the youngest of the women would be about 90 years old now. It would be wonderful to have their recollections.

"We think this is the earliest footage of Aldeburgh in existence."

The film, discovered recently in the British Pathe archive, shows a group of women from Greenwich Girls Home, a training school for orphaned teenagers.

The clip, which was given the title Many Girls on a Boat, had been unseen since being made and screened in the summer of 1932.

It shows the women taking part in various holiday pursuits, including swimming in the sea and enjoying lunch.

The footage was shown on newsreels distributed to cinemas around the country by British Pathe, one of the world's oldest media companies.

'Another age'

Ms Quick, who splits her time between homes in London and Suffolk, where she has a cottage near Aldeburgh, said she was hopeful of finding some of the women.

She said: "This film truly belongs to another age.

Image copyright Other
Image caption The women were from the Greenwich Girls Home, in London

"Though the film, with its whimsical footage, was clearly staged, I really hope that the girls were happy during their time here.

"We want to invite them back to Aldeburgh to celebrate their association with the town and their accidental role in Suffolk documentary history."

The search is being undertaken to mark the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival, which runs from Friday until Sunday.

This year's event, the 17th, aims to provide a showcase for the latest documentary films, bringing together some of the leading professionals in the industry.

The festival is being held at the historic Aldeburgh Cinema, which has been showing films since 1919. It also includes a training workshop in neighbouring Walberswick.

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