Janet's sixth birthday

Janet's sixth birthday
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Children wearing party hats at the Dyer family home are seated around a table. Janet, the birthday girl, wears a blue dress and matching ribbon in her hair. A suitably coloured birthday cake topped with six candles is iced with the words ‘Happy birthday to Janet’. Janet attempts to light the candles then blows them out. The candles are lit again and the lights turned out so the flames flicker in the darkness before they are blown out once more.

Summary by Poppy De Souza

This film was donated to the National Film and Sound Archive by Joy Litherland of the Dyer family.

Children’s birthday parties are a rite of passage and a part of growing up. This party from the 1940s records not only glimpses of this (such as Janet burning her fingers while attempting to light her candles with a match), but also the types of dresses and costumes that children wore to events like these.


Dyer, Frederick Simpson: Children’s Party and Beach synopsis

In this silent colour home movie, Frederick Simpson Dyer records his daughter Janet’s sixth birthday party and a family holiday by the beach.


Dyer, Frederick Simpson: Children’s Party and Beach curator's notes

Amateur home movie maker Frederick Simpson Dyer made a number of 16 mm film home movies covering the years 1936–1943 and recorded family events such as outings, holidays and birthdays (of which we see an example here).

Notes by Poppy De Souza