Sunday, 10 May 2015

London Builds Again (1945/6)

Mute colour film shot by an amateur cinematographer of the construction of prefabricated housing in post-war London. The film has inter-titles throughout.
The film opens with a shot of St Paul's Cathedral, followed by a sign at the base of Nelson's Column reading 'The time of destruction is ended ... the era of reconstruction begins. H.M. the King". Another sign reads 'Save for reconstruction'. The demolition of a bomb-damaged building. Intertitles introduce the construction of Orlit Houses; a sign on-site reads 'Ministry of Works. Experimental Permanent Houses. Poplar Site'. The construction of the houses are shown from constructing the concrete frames through to the finished dwellings. A sign on-site reads 'Richard Costain Limited London SW1'. Mr George Tomlinson and Mr Charles Key, the Minister of Works open the first house in February 1946, watched by crowds of on-lookers. Detailed shots of the interior of one of the houses.
The Film and Video Archive of the Imperial War Museum was established in 1920, making it one of the first film archives in the world. It holds some 120 million feet of film and 6,500 house of video tape. A large proportion of material has been transferred to the Museum from the armed Services and other public bodies as the Archive is the official repository for these films.
More information about this film can be found via the Film and Video section of the Imperial War Museums on-line catalogue:
Running time5mins
Matthew Nathan camera-operator and editor
Original format: 16mm

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