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Tam Trauchle's Troubles (clip 1) - Life in a single-end tenement flat in the 1930s

This film is one of a series of fund raising appeal films produced for the Glasgow Necessitous Children's Holiday Camp Fund to raise money to help send poor children on a holiday during the summer break. The film promotes the benefits of the Holiday Camp to children and parents alike and provides an insight into what life was like for Glasgow children during the great depression. A collection tin would be passed around after showings of this film at the cinema.

This clip shows the conditions in a 1930s Glasgow single-end tenement flat including the recess bed, stove and eating area all in the one room. The film is introduced by Sir Charles Cleland - Chairman of the Fund; the Trauchle family is introduced with Tam Trauchle and his sons Sam and Robert at home in their single-end tenement slum flat in the Gorbals. The boys read about the camp at Tantallon and dream about going there. To cheer up the boys, Tam sings "There's no place like home". Tam struggles to keep house in order while his wife is in hospital and has difficulty in feeding, cleaning and controlling his sons. A woman from the Education Authority calls about the boys' application for camp informing them that they have a good chance at being accepted for the camp.

Black and white, Sound

Length of clip: 8:44
Length of original film: 40:00

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  • Who are Tam Trauchle's Troubles?
  • What was your impression of the street where Tam Trauchle lived?
  • What impression do you get of what life was like for the children living in a crowded tenement?
  • Tam Trauchle says he hasn't worked for 'seven years', where would the family have got money from?
  • What do you notice about what the children look like?


Social History / English: The boys play at miners under the bed. Why do you think this is? Make a list of the games that children play today at home.

English/Media Studies: Compare persuasive techniques used in this film with modern charity appeals (e.g. Children in Need)

Modern Studies/PSD: Does child poverty still exist? As a class plan, storyboard and make a modern day version of this film?

Science/Home Economics: The children in the film are undernourished. Why? Why is it important to eat a varied and balanced diet?

History: Compare what children in the 1930s did for fun with young children's hobbies today.

English / Language / Drama: Transcribe the dialogue of the Trauchle family (Dad, Mum, Sam and Robert). Find out what the Glaswegian terms mean and then write the script without using a local dialect. Perform the script to the class and notice how different it sounds. Script the scene in your local dialect or in Gaelic.

Media Studies / Film History: This is an early sound film. Compare this film to 'Sunny Days' and comment on the sound. Research silent films and find out what sounds or musical accompaniment went along with the film.

Record details

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Record ID: 007-000-000-051-C
Resource Rights Holder: National Library of Scotland
Related Records:
Project Ref: 0253
Date: 1934
Genre: Documentary, drama doc, charitable
Subject: History, Modern Studies, Home Economics, English, Media Studies, Language, Drama, Social Studies (Curriculum for Excellence)
Who: Glasgow Corporation Education Department (sponsor)
Pathe Pictures Ltd (production company)
Where: Glasgow
North Berwick
Tantallon Castle
Event: Holidays
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