London's Bridges on Film
A special selection of films capturing a century of life along the Thames and the iconic structures spanning it, to mark the launch of Illuminated River, a major new public art commission.
The tidal ebb and flow of the Thames and its bridges have been a draw for filmmakers since the earliest years of the moving image, when Victorian pioneer RW Paul set up his camera on Blackfriars Bridge. This specially curated collection marks the launch of The Illuminated River, an ambitious new public art commission conceived by internationally-acclaimed American artist Leo Villareal and award-winning British architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, delivered by the Illuminated River Foundation.
These films capture the daily interaction of Londoners at work and play, while showcasing the architecture of the bridges themselves and their role as vital links between both sides of the river.
Documentary193517 mins Location: Thames Head
Swans, boats and bridges are celebrated by lyrical commentary and fine images in this delightful tour of the Thames from “trivial” beginnings to torrential end.
Thames River Scenery - Panorama of the Crowded RiverThames River Scenery - Panorama of the Crowded River
Non-Fiction18991 minsSilent Location: Henley-on-Thames
Don your straw boater and join Victorians at play as you potter down the river at Henley-on-Thames
Non-Fiction19261 minsSilent Location: Kingston Upon Thames
A mermaid, a fat man in a barrel and water-bound jockeys all appear in this brilliant short showing Londoners taking part in the Molesey Regatta.
Amateur film19728 minsSilent Location: Hampton Court Park
Join Jim Greenyer on a cabin cruiser trip along the Hampton Court section of the River Thames - past islands, bridges, weirs and locks as well as a capsized canoeist
Non-Fiction19251 minsSilent Location: Windsor
Welcome to Venice-on-Thames: some resourceful Berkshire locals defy the floods and take to the gondolier, while others 'walk the plank'.
Non-Fiction19151 mins Location: Putney
Putney plays host to rowing races between soldiers who lost their sight during the war and blind students from Worcester College.
Non-Fiction19151 minsSilent Location: Richmond
Gangway! A posse of 350 anglers charge through Richmond in a race to take up the best position before a fishing competition.
Non-Fiction19211 minsSilent Location: Thames Ditton
Tea, giggles, boats and balloons in this wonderful footage from the Hampton Court and Dittons Regetta on the banks of the Thames.
Documentary196830 mins Location: Victoria Sta
The Grosvenor Railway Bridge gets a 1960s upgrade while trains continue to thunder over it - an impressive engineering feat
Non-Fiction19211 minsSilent Location: River Thames
Braving a mucky looking Thames, London’s finest women swimmers line up for a long-distance race between Kew and Putney.
192412 mins Location: Hyde Park
Part of Wonderful London, the BFI National Archive’s programme of restored London travelogues, filmed in the capital in the 1920s.
Non-Fiction19323 minsSilent Location: Lambeth
A newsreel record of the opening of the second Lambeth Bridge by King George V in July 1932.
Documentary195949 mins Location: Kennington
Karel Reisz’s honest depiction of South London teens aimed to challenge the media perception of ‘Teddy Boys’.
Documentary196210 minsSilent Location: Lambeth
A colourful round up of the 1962 Lambeth Festival with fun for all, from a carnival parade to a beauty contest judged by radio’s Alan Freeman.
Amateur film19367 minsSilent Location: Southwark
Ladders, fire engines and ropes are inspected, before we get a long look at the Fire Brigade’s new Lambeth HQ from the river.
Travelogue192313 minsSilent Location: Westminster
These atmospheric scenes of the Thames and central London (including some spoiled by fog) were shot for the Sherlock Holmes feature The Sign of Four.
Amateur film196717 minsSilent Location: London Br
A simple yet multifaceted overview detailing the resurrection of one of London's most iconic architetural landmarks.
Public Information Filler192820 minsSilent Location: Bermondsey
The original foodie city: from bustling Bermondsey Wharves through Smithfield and Billingsgate to London's street markets and general stores.
Government sponsored film195612 mins Location: Soho
Traffic chaos and parking pandemonium in London is nothing new - as we see from this colourful 1950s research film shot around the capital.
Amateur film19633 minsSilent Location: Westminster
Excellent if somewhat jerky aerial shots of London taken from a helicopter and featuring close-ups of Waterloo, the docks and Tower Bridge.
19315 minsSilent Location: Bermondsey
Scenes of thronging street life and market trading along Tower Bridge Road, Bermondsey Street and Southwark Park Road.
Amateur film19338 minsSilent Location: Tower Hamlets
Whistle stop tour of the Thames' iconic locations, followed by crowds, eels and strongmen in the East End.
Non-Fiction192413 minsSilent Location: London
The Thames was alive with vessels of all shapes and sizes, testimony to the success of London as a busy Port, handling cargo and passenger ferries from around the world.
Amateur film19493 minsSilent Location: London
An amazing film from 1949 that shows the colour returning to London's cheeks after six years of war - with Grenadier Guards, London Buses and the inevitable bombsites
Non-Fiction18982 minsSilent Location: Blackwall
The launch of H.M.S Albion, which was marred by the collapse of a gangway which resulted in many spectators drowning.
Amateur film19518 minsSilent Location: Kingston Upon Thames
This polished tour of Kingston takes in sites of local interest such as churches, technical college, and the well-known dept store Bentalls
Travelogue192425 minsSilent Location: London
From the pilots of the Pool of London to the headquarters of the Port of London Authority, let’s take a look.