Where it all began

I really enjoyed being a teacher. I was a qualified furniture designer and cabinet maker. My skills in 'woodwork' helped me to open so many doors in education. To the pupils in my care I was able to introduce - History, Geography, Art and Design with 'wood' being the starting point. I took them from the known to the unknown; from the wood bench-top to the trees being felled in the forests of Finland. 

 

Abel Street School

 

 

 

The headmaster often came into my classroom/workshop, and on this occasion I suppose he was as keen as the pupils to hear about the morning's activities at Manchester Road railway station. As he entered the workshop all the boys stood smartly to attention, you could have heard a panel-pin drop. 

"Sit down please," he said in a voice of authority that headmasters always seem to have, "carry on Mr Hanna."

 He walked round the room to see what the boys were doing and then took a seat and listened to my lesson. He later confessed to me that he had been told that little practical woodwork was being taught in my classes and that I spent most of my time talking to my pupils. Needless to say his visits to my lessons soon proved to him the value of my teaching techniques and often I had two extra students in my history and art classes the headmaster and the janitor. But introducing the use of films into the classroom was not met with official approval. I knew, however, if I was to bring the outside world into the classroom - and there was no television in those days my interest in film making would provide the key to open new doors.

I had of ten been told that 'a picture was worth a thousand words'. A friend of mine had a camera and could show moving pictures in his home. After watching some of his 'movies', I was determined to have one of those movie-cameras. If I had such a camera I could show films, in the classroom, of people and places and make the lessons come more to life; this I felt would be better than 'chalk and talk'. As I dwelt on the idea I had a feeling of exhilaration and for the next fifty years the feeling remained. My pioneering days, of 'filming for education:, had begun. I was to meet fierce opposition, but my father s example taught me to fear no man, if I considered I was in the right.