Phew – back to some local history at last – and what special history this is!
There is a continually unfolding thread here about one of the great sons of Brownhills, who was up until the last few months, relatively unknown in his hometown. Today, I can share another couple of Edgar Pritchard’s films – the first one, in colour and sound which was made in 1953, profiles the artist Brenda Irene Chamberlain (1912-71) who was at the time resident in Bardsey, an island off the coast of Wales that Edgar adored.
Edgar Ewart Pritchard – Brother of Syd – was a noted and talented amateur filmmaker who was recognised by the British film industry for his remarkable skill and ability within his lifetime, but has since slipped into obscurity. Thanks to blog contributors David Evans, Reg ‘Aer Reg’ Fullelove, Edgar’s relative (resident in Aldridge) Margaret Thompson and Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler, we have been able to piece together the lost story of this remarkably creative man.
A couple of weeks ago, reader Stuart found the Edgar Pritchard Film The Island Artist at the BFI archive, and thanks to a better set of video tools, I can insert the film here – you can watch it at the foot of this post. Thanks to Stuart for his eagle eye!
There’s a double surprise, as the archive contains another film, clearly made at the same time, called ‘The Island in the Current’ which I shan’t extract from the archive out of respect, but you can watch here – I have to say, the audio on that one is quite difficult as the distortion is hard to listen to.
Does these films feature – albeit distorted and degraded by the age of the recordings – the voice of the filmmaker? Can anyone who knew him help please?
If you have anything to add, or a comment to make feel free – either on this post or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Collaborative local history at it’s best.
The BFI Archive said of the above film:
Edgar Ewart Pritchard, from Brownhills, Staffordshire, regularly visited Bardsey and here conveys an impression of the life lived there by artist/writer Brenda Chamberlain, from Bangor. In close proximity to the sea and the island’s farms, and with a broken marriage and WWII behind her, Brenda wrote and painted accompanied by two Siamese cats, a dog and a pony. She was awarded the gold medal for fine art at the National Eisteddfods in 1951 and 1953.
Edgar Ewart Pritchard (1898-1976) lived all his life with his younger brother in the house that their father, Thomas Pritchard, had had built before marriage to their mother Ellen. Edgar worked as an area surveyor for the National Coal Board but regularly escaped to Bardsey, an island he loved [see also his film ‘The Island in the Current’]. He won an Amateur Cine World Award (a silver camera) in 1954 for ‘Island Artist’. Brenda Irene Chamberlain (1912-71) lived on Bardsey from 1947 until 1962, after which time she moved to the Greek island of Hydra (1963-67) and then returned to Bangor. She suffered increasingly from depression and took her own life in 1971.
National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales preserves and celebrates the sound and moving image heritage of Wales, making it accessible to a wide range of users for enjoyment and learning. Its film collection reflects every aspect of the nation’s social, cultural and working life across the 20th century, giving a fascinating insight into Welsh filmmaking, both amateur and professional