Richard Massingham

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Screenshot from "Coughs and Sneezes" a 1945 PIF directed by, and starring Richard Massingham.

Richard Massingham (31 January 1898 in Sleaford, Lincolnshire – 1 April 1953 in Biddenden, Kent) was a British actor who is principally known for starring in public information films made in the 1940s and early 1950s.


After working in medicine and making amateur films, Massingham set up Public Relationship Films Ltd in 1938 when he noticed that there was no specialist agency making short educational films for the public. In the films he typically played a bumbling character who was slightly more stupid than average, and often explained the message of the film through demonstrating the risks if it was ignored. Films' topics included how to cross the road, how to prevent the spread of diseases, how to swim and how to drive without causing the road to be unsafe for other users.


Massingham's father was H.W. Massingham (1860–1924) the journalist, and his siblings included writer Harold John Massingham (1888–1952), writer Hugh Massingham (1905–1971)[1] and playwright and actress Dorothy Massingham (1889–1933). He was the son of Emma Jane née Snowdon, the daughter of Henry Snowdon of St. Leonard's Priory, Norwich.


  1. ^ [1] Alan Watkins Obituary, The Guardian, 9 May 2010

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