The people at no. 19.

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Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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The people at no. 19. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

About this work


A short highly-charged drama about venereal disease. A newly married young wife, who is pregant, is diagnosed with syphilis. She argues with her husband about who passed it on to who. At the end of the film it looks like they will reconcile. The film also tries to note that syphilis can and must be treated. The husband is played by Desmond Carrington, the wife by Tilsa Page, the mother-in-law by Margery Fleeson and the father-in-law by Russell Waters. 2 segments.


UK : Crown Film Unit, 1949.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (17.36 min.) : sound, black and white



Copyright note

Crown copyright, managed by BFI.

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Language note

In English

Creator/production credits

A Central Office of Information film made for the Ministry of Health with the collaboration of the Central Council of Health Education. Directed by J.B. Holmes and written by John Rowdon.


This video was made from material preserved by the BFI National Archive.


Segment 1 Ken, the husband, arrives home and chats with his mother-in-law in the dining room about finding somewhere to live with his wife, Joan. He tells her that Joan is pregnant. The mother-in-law leaves to look for baby clothes upstairs. Joan arrives back from the doctor's looking worried. She appears to be extremely annoyed with Ken, and eventually tells him that the doctor diagnosed her with syphilis. The mother comes in and chats about baby clothes and Joan bursts into tears. Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:08:53:00 Length: 00:08:53:00
Segment 2 Ken starts talking about Doris, one of Joan's friends. Mother comments that Doris 'came to no good' and then leaves. Ken and Joan continue arguing but Ken reveals that he had a full physical examination before their marriage and did not have syphilis. Therefore, Joan must have contracted it herself. She tells him that when he was away in the army she met a man and slept with him. Their marriage appears to be greatly shaken. Father comes home and tells them of a house for rent. Ken goes out alone to look at the house, but Joan follows him and says she will go as well. Time start: 00:08:53:00 Time end: 00:17:36:02 Length: 00:08:43:02



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