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Children of the City (clip 2)

Thought-provoking study of juvenile delinquency in Dundee during World War II

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A dramatised study of child delinquency in Scotland during World War II. Filmed in Dundee this clip depicts the offending boys being taken to the juvenile court for trial and sentencing. The film makes mention of the boys different family circumstances and the processes followed by the court in carrying out its work.

Questions & Activities


  • What is child delinquency?
  • What reasons are given for child delinquency in this film?
  • What percentage of crimes are committed by children today?
  • Do children "take so much for granted" as the film suggests?
  • How has life changed for children since 1943?
  • Have the reasons for child delinquency changed?
  • Why is it important that the children understand what is going on?
  • How much does physical appearance influence character?
  • Why is Duncan's father not present?
  • Do you think Alex should be taken away from his family?
  • What percentage of crimes do you think are committed by boys and girls under 17 today?
  • What social reasons are given for child delinquency?
  • Why is it important that the children understand what is going on?
  • How much does physical appearance influence behavior?


PSE: Interpret the body language and actions of the characters portrayed. Then discuss why the different characters have been chosen and whether they appear true to life.

Media Studies: Compare and contrast this film to 'Cally House' (made around the same time) and discuss what each says about the adultworld's vision of children.

English: Research the work of the Children's Panel and the Rights of the |Child Charter. If you were to write a drama about youth crime and punishment today, what would you want to focus on.

PSE: Discuss the causes of youth crime today. Discuss what choices people have and discuss ways that children could be helped.

History / The Home Front: This film focuses on a side of life during the war that is rarely seen. Research the other social problems of the time and what was done to tackle them.

English: Output ten stills from this film and explain why you have chosen them and what they show.

English / Graphic Communication: Draw a fully accessorized a modern delinquent with explanatory labels.

History / Debate: Split the calls into two groups then research and debate whether children take so much for granted as the film suggests and whether it is therefore a good idea that parents should appear in court for the crimes of their children.

WWII / Home Front: This film shows a side of WWII that is not often focused on. Research what other problems children faced as a direct result of their fathers being away at war or preoccupied with working for the war effort.

PSE: Interpret the body language and the actions of the children portrayed in this clip and the other clips from this film.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-043-C
Resource Rights Holder Crown Copyright licensed by National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 0291
Date 1944
Genre Documentary, Drama Documentary, Educational, Sponsored, Women Filmmakers
School Subject History, Physical Education, English, Drama, Media Studies
Subject Matter Citizenship
Who Budge Cooper (director), MOI for the Scottish Education Department (sponsor), Paul Rotha Productions (production company)
Where Dundee
Event World War II, Trial
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 6:32
Film Length 30:00