Reel 1. A history of the St. John's Ambulance Association. Written and arranged by Joe Grossman. Intertitle reads: "The oldest order of chivalry in the world. The Grand Priory in the British Realm of the venerable order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem." Emblem of St. John's Ambulance Association in C/U. Four men with hunting horns play a fanfare on a balcony Fringed unidentified flags are attached to their horns. Major General the Earl of Scarbrough (sic) K.G. Sub Prior of the Order speaks to camera. He is standing behind a desk wearing an elaborate costume bearing the motif of St. John's Ambulance Association. He speaks of 50 years of the Association from their foundation in 1887. He dedicates this historical film to all past and current members of the order. Retrospective images as the Victorian age is described. Horse and carriage approaches the camera. Painting of Queen Victoria. Horse and carriage draws up outside a hostelry. Passengers on the carriage are dressed in clothes of the time of Queen Victoria. Man sits at an outside table with a metal tankard in his hand. Man stands in doorway wearing an apron - presumably the publican. Various trades are portrayed in costume - postman, soldier, town crier (?)
Shot of the Majestic Hall at night with a horse pulled fire engine passing in front. Woman travelling in a horse and cart with two uniformed drivers. A couple in Victorian style dress ride a tandem. Original film of very busy city street with horse drawn carriages and buses. Group of men sit around a table in costume discussing accidents that were happening in the streets at that time. A group of people crowd around a man who is collapsed on the pavement - presumably a road accident victim. Closer view - one woman holds her hands and another strokes his head. A group of doctors sit around a table in discussion - they wear suits and ties and have very large books in front of them. Another ill man sits on an chair on the pavement as people crowd around him. He is given something to drink. He rubs his head with his hand and writhes around "acting" ill. Five great pioneers who went out to teach first aid are mentioned: Sir Edward Seifking (?), Sir Edmund Lechmere, Sir Herbert Peron, Major Francis Duncan and Sir John Furley (check spellings...) - still photographs are shown of each man.
Still photograph of first ambulance and nursing division of the brigade. Actors in costume pose as early ambulance men and women. Large parade of ambulance men and women - quite a distance from the camera. Photographs of St John's Ambulance crews from New Zealand, Malta, Canada, and Hong Kong. Film footage of crews from South Africa and India. Still of Australian crew, film of two Rhodesian members. Group of ambulance men and women move around a conservatory. Actors play early members of the movement who are ridiculed by passers-by. The narrator speaks of how this was similar to the treatment of the Salvation Army. Footage of a Salvation Army marching band. Narrator states: "They soon confounded their critics." Policeman stands with hands on hips watching early members of the St John's Ambulance Association tend to a wounded person at the side of the road. His arm is put into a splint. M/S of policeman (who is rather a comic bearded fellow) exaggeratedly shaking the hand of one of the members of the group.
Meeting of members of the Brigade (this is original rather than reconstructed.) Camera pans across the Chapter General of the Order of St. John. The Sub Prior of the Order - the Earl of Scarborough seen before - decorating members of the Order. He talks to a woman in a nurses uniform. Procession of the Chapter General - including Mr Monteith, Mr H.W. Fincham, Colonel King,the late Captain Seaton Christopher. The procession of the sub Prior includes Captain Cusack, the Reverend Prebondary Percival, Lieutenant General Sir Alma Hunter Weston, Colonel Bingham, Major General the Earl of Scarborough. The Secretary General Sir Percival Wilkinson chats to Captain Cusack and Colonel Bingham. Procession of the Chapter General led by the choir of the Chapel Royal on St John the Baptist day. Men in capes decorated with the emblem of the Order of St John follow a group of choir boys as they process through an archway. Photograph (or possibly a drawing) of the crypt of St John's church at Clerkenwell London. Procession of the Order to Westminster Abbey (not seen) on the occasion of the Centenary of the Order. Present include the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Earl of Athlone (?) the Earl of Scarborough and his Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught - Grand Prior of the Order.
We see the procession walking through the cloisters of Westminster Abbey as the bells ring out. Sir Perival Wilkinson the Director General of the Ambulance Department discusses Association matters with one of the staff officers. He sits at a desk and signs papers handed to him by the officer. Captain Cusack - Chief Secretary of the St John's Ambulance Association stands outside a building and smiles at the camera.
Note: reel 2 is on tape *PM1391* (film id 1391.01). See separate records for details.