You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

Potato Picking Trailer

Cinema ad for 'tattie howkin'

  • Print All


Animated appeal film to persuade school children to help gather the potato harvest.

Animated potatoes show why it is necessary to harvest potatoes before the crop rots with a comparison to being in prison. The potatoes are seen dressed in Scottish dress including kilt, sporran and Tam O'Shanter. One potato is sending a morse code message which reads "SOS Scotland. 50,000 schoolchildren can save us from rotting". The end title reads "Let your children help gather the potato harvest. Details from any school."

Questions & Activities


  • Why was this animation made?
  • How and why does the animation tell the story from the point of view of the potatoes?
  • Why do you think different uses of potato are listed?
  • What sort of camera angles and shots are used in the animation?
  • What tells us this film was made for a specific audience?


Draw a vegetable character to promote healthy eating.

Find out about the techniques used to produce hand-drawn animation in the 1930s-1960s.

Find out about the telegram service and what sort of information was sent by telegram.

Research child labour and fair-trade around the world.

Watch and discuss films made by Halas and Batchelor studios for the Central Office of Information.

Explore public information films made during the 20th century. What was the role of the Central office of Information?

Create your own digital advertisement or film to encourage children to do something for their community.

Research and discuss how views on child labour have changed in the past century. You may want to refer to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Plant potatoes then measure, observe and record the progress of growth.

Design and engineer a mechanism to help gather potatoes.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-155-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 1058
Date c.1950
Genre Advertising, Animation
School Subject Health and Wellbeing, History, Mathematics, Science, English, Geography, Social Studies
Subject Matter Citizenship
Who COI for the Dept. of Agriculture for Scotland (sponsor), Halas & Batchelor (animators), Harry Gordon (commentary), Molly Weir (commentary)
Where Scotland
Event Agriculture
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 1:01
Film Length 01:01