Primary Sources

Primary Sources

The Bioscope Adverts

A selection of adverts for Secrets of Nature from the trade periodical The Biscope. Click on the images to view a full PDF image of the adverts. All of these images are from the British Newspaper Archive.


Newspaper Listings

These newspaper cuttings from the British Newspaper Archive give us a sense of the different contexts in which the Secrets were exhibited. For instance, we learn that in 1926 The Life of a Plant was shown as part of a variety show at the Chiswick Empire in London, while in 1930, Playtime at the Zoo was part of a ‘supporting programme’ to a film called His First Command, alongside a Disney Silly Symphony.

Surrey Mirror. 17 October 1930.
Coventry Evening Telegraph. 18 August 1926.
Uxbridge & W. Drayton Gazette. 28 November 1924.
West London Observer. 12 November 1926
Portsmouth Evening News. 29 December 1930.


Mary Field, ‘Secrets, 1919-1940’, Documentary Newsletter (Jan 1941).

Mary Field, ‘Scope and Production of Educational Films’, in J. A. Lauwerys (ed.), The Film in The School (London: Christopers, 1935).

Mary Field, ‘Making Nature Films’, in Sight and Sound, Vol. 1 No. 3 (1932)

Mary Field, ‘Filming through a microscope‘, Radio Times television supplement, 22 January 1937, p. 5

Julian Huxley, Review of Secrets of Nature, in Sight and Sound, Vol. 3 No. 11 (1934)

O. Blakeston, ‘Personally about Percy Smith’, Close Up, Vol. 8 No. 2 (1931)

Irene Wilson, ‘His Name Was Smith’, The Cine-Tecnician, no. 54 (1945)


Paul Rotha, Documentary Film (1939)

Audience Reports

F.G. Thomas, The New Learning (1932). An experiment into rural audiences’ reacions to the cinema. The report included an appendix featuring a conversation amongst several individuals following a screening of two Secrets. The full transcript is available here.

The cinema: its present position and future possibilities (1917), a report published by the National Council of Public Morals which looked at the influence of cinema on British audiences.

The Film in National Life (1932). The report of the Commission on Educational and Cultural Films. Referring to the Secrets series, the report called nature films “a speciality of the British industry”.

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