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Britain 1940's
Steel Goes To Sea (1941)
Island People (1941)
Lowland Village (1942)
Market Town (1942)
London 1942 (1943)
The Little Ships of England (1943)
Country Town (1943)
Development of the English Town (1942-43)
World Garden (1941)
We of the West Riding (1945)
General Election (1945)

« Bletchley Park's lost Heroes (1939 - 1945)

Britain At War In Colour (1939 - 1945) »

Description

Britain 1940's

Steel Goes To Sea (1941)
Following the creational journey of vessel number 242 from steel skeleton to majestic giant gliding gracefully out onto the water, Steel Goes To Sea charters the ins and outs of the ship building industry and those who work within it.

Island People (1941)
Diverse Britain is captured on film in Island People, depicting the scope and scale of British life and showcasing major cities' involvements in agriculture, industry and commerce. The fourth wall is removed from rural and urban homes as we gain insight into the day-to-day lives of the British family; their varied careers, an unwavering passion for sport and dancing and a love for the occasional, well-deserved drink at a traditional public house.

This film aims to instil within the minds of its viewers that the fundamental values of British society are hard work, sport, family, home and togetherness. It demonstrates how the overwhelming proportion of the British public are pillars of the community working not just for themselves but for others around them, strengthening the idea of a communal British nation.

Lowland Village (1942)

Market Town (1942)

London 1942 (1943)
As much loved landmarks were destroyed and uncertainty engulfed the capital, rather than losing spirit Britain pulled tighter together, turning urban basements into inner-city pig farms to ease the problems of food shortage, and transforming disused roof-top spaces into allotments for growing vegetables and flowers.

All notions of class-related entertainment and social etiquettes were usurped, instead favouring a communal lifting of mood achieved through innovative community schemes including bringing theatre shows into factory canteens and standardizing food prices in the eateries around the city.

As the film claims, even the ordinary citizen was willing to do their bit in order to secure a world 'free from want and fear'.

The Little Ships of England (1943)
'From the woods of Britain comes timber - oak, ash and elm - for the little ships. The scene shifts to skilled shipwrights at work in a West-country shipyard, and shifts again to the exciting rescue of a fighter pilot by a launch on patrol. At Dunkirk the little ships sailed into the pages of English history.'

Country Town (1943)
Set in Boston, Lincolnshire, this short film aims to introduce the viewer to a typical, thriving, market town. Narrated by the friendly local newspaper editor, County Town focuses on the themes of community and industry, gently and genially exploring the changes brought about by World War 2.

This film is set in the town of Boston, Lincolnshire (identifiable by the often-shown tower of St Botolph's church, known locally as 'The Stump'), though no names are given in the film. Whilst the effects of the war are often mentioned, it is often as an aside, or presented as a positive change for the area. This film strongly promotes country living, presenting the town's inhabitants as hard-working, but happy. It also portrays the town as making a real contribution to the war effort, along with those who have moved out from the cities to live there.

It is speculated that the newspaper editor, credited as Philip Robinson, may actually be the editor of the Lincolnshire Standard, as the paper was/is owned by the Robinson family.

The man walking towards St Botolph's at the beginning of the film has been identified by the local parish committee as Mr Holton. He was the Clark of Works during the 1920's / 1930's restoration of the church, and then stayed on as the verger thereafter. He is depicted in vergers robes and can also be seen in one of the church's stained glass windows as a figure clad in green, holding books.

Development of the English Town (1942-43)
Development of the English Town leads us on a swift journey through the ages, examining the motivations of town-builders from the Romans at Silchester right thorough to the modern designers of 1950s new towns. A promotion of the virtues of today's well-considered community blueprints, this film demonstrates the advances in town planning through a critique of our ancestors' built environments.

This film illustrates the main concepts behind town planning in England in every major era from the Roman period to the modern day, extolling the virtues of consideration of factors, exemplified in modern town planning. It unrepentantly presents all earlier 'organic' towns as unhealthy, or horrible, asking 'What kind of life must the inhabitants have had?' However, it also features the 'ghosts' of a Norman, 18th century footman, and a Victorian gentleman, who tend to challenge this view; but they are gently overshadowed by the narrator's opinion.

The 'London Overspill' policy was instigated in the 1930s to move people out of London, but started in earnest after World War II, as a reaction to the housing shortages caused by bombing and large amounts of substandard housing in the capital. In fact, it seems to suggests that war is useful in clearing overcrowded areas, as is now an opportunity to build more pleasant towns. The film finishes very much looking to the future, perhaps encouraging people to move into these new planned towns; presenting them as the ideal.

World Garden (1941)
Shot in glorious technicolour, perfect for capturing the vibrancy of hues on display, World Garden explores the diverse flora and fauna of Kew Gardens.

Encompassing plants from the tropics, Saharan Africa and continental Europe, we unearth the wealth of specimens held within the illustrious gardens, also going 'behind the scenes' to gain insight into the vast archives of information held on the world's botany.

We of the West Riding (1945)
Yorkshire is divided into three areas, or 'Ridings', and it is the West Riding which becomes the focus of this 1945 film.

Exploring the mill towns and textile industry within this area of Northern England, the film examines the structure of family life away from the British capital. Observed through the eyes of a little boy, he recounts visiting his family members who are all employed in different sectors of the local cloth industry.

Much attention is paid to the dramatic rural landscapes and moorland that have become the focus for some of Britain's most renowned works of literature, including Wuthering Heights and other novels by the infamous Bronte sisters.

This film is designed to show the solid community bases in all areas of the country and not just in the capital. This could be seen as a complementary film to Annakin's London 1942, making sure that Britain is not depicted as 'Londoncentric' and values as well the diverse contributions to Britishness supplied by the far reaches of the country.

It is a way of showing these differing areas in a positive light, diverting away from an idea that rural areas are somehow regressive. Highlight the fact that even though country lifestyles are perhaps different to those of people living in larger cities, there remain core values predicated on the importance of family, community spirit and supporting a greater ideal of Britishness.

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