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A Day in the Home

1950s educational film about how to be the perfect housewife

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This film was made for showing in schools to train girls in becoming the perfect housewife. The film portrays the every day chores carried out by an idealised family in an early 1950s Scottish home. The film shows the housewife looking after the baby, getting the children ready for school, setting the table, washing-up, making beds, cleaning, laying the fire, shopping and hoovering.

Questions & Activities


  • Why do you think this film was made and who do you think it was aimed at?
  • Why do houses need coal?
  • Do you think it is a realistic portrayal of family life - why?
  • What is significant about the motif of time in the film?
  • Why do we see dad burn himself twice whilst undertaking domestic duties?
  • What responsibilities do you have that children back then might not have had?
  • What is the significance of the words "Baby", "Father", "must" and "of course"?


Make a list of chores that the housewife carries out and the order that she does them.

Housework was a full time activity - find out how people deal with housework today.

Compare how the baby is dressed to what babies wear today.

Compare and contrast with modern meal times.

Count how many jobs the mother does compared to the father.

Find out how long rationing continued after the war. Research and compare the design of the home and the products used today.

Investigate shopping in the past. Debate - this house believes that the family is better off when the mother stays at home.

Create your own instruction manual for how people live today.

Take freeze frames from the clip and create thoughts and dialogue for the characters.

Make an instruction booklet on how to look after a baby for the day.

Research the nuclear family and compare this to how we live today.

Look at patterns in language and words that are used over and over again in the film.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-011-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 0017
Date 1951
Genre Educational
School Subject Health and Wellbeing, Technologies, Expressive Arts, English, Modern Studies, History
Subject Matter Citizenship
Who Campbell Harper Films (production company), Joint Production Committee of SEFA and SFC (sponsor)
Where Edinburgh, Holyrood
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 13:31
Film Length 13:31
References Shirley Valentine.  
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