Spotlight on Key Workers
A salute to the vital workers who keep our essential services running in bad times - and all the time.
This emergency has put the spotlight on the 'key workers', risking their health and their lives for the benefit of others. As the films in this collection demonstrate, it's not just in times of crisis that such workers are heroes.
It's a founding principle of Britain's documentary tradition to place the worker front and centre. From the Victorian filmmakers' fascination with firefighters, to the 1930s generation's championing of postal workers and the postwar film units' documenting of transport workers and the doctors and nurses of the fledgling NHS, via teachers, food and agricultural workers and more - we depended on them then, just as we do today.
School programme and Educational film197343 mins Location: Northcourt
London’s school kids get to grips with teaching methods, technology and cows in this film from the 1970s explaining educational theories at different London schools.
News19742 mins Location: Birmingham
Bus timetables are sacrosanct to some but to others there are more important things in life - and faith is one of them.
News19754 mins Location: Ullesthorpe
It's an Aladdin's Cave of household goods: Donald Sansome's travelling store is a lifeline for the people of rural Leicestershire
The Daily Round: The Story of Milk Production and DistributionThe Daily Round: The Story of Milk Production and Distribution
Promotional195422 mins Location: East Sussex
Indulge your nostalgia for the old-fashioned milk bottle with this Express Dairy promotional film from the 1950s.
Doctors undertake forensic-style detective work to identify the origins of outbreaks, in the fascinating film from the early days of the NHS.
Documentary193624 mins Location: Euston Sta
The flagship of the GPO Film Unit's output and a cornerstone of British documentary, featuring music by Benjamin Britten and the verse of W.H. Auden.
Foel Grocery Van, Cwm Twrch Shearing and Tipperary CreameryFoel Grocery Van, Cwm Twrch Shearing and Tipperary Creamery
School programme and Educational film195721 minsSilent Location: Foel
The Foel grocer delivers bread in a van; wool is gathered in Cwm Twrch; farmers in Co. Kerry take churns on carts to a creamery for distribution.
Government sponsored film194910 mins
Eleanor Roosevelt and Michael Redgrave narrate this optimistic post-war film on the rehabilitation of disabled people with polio.
Documentary19387 minsSilent Location: Stepney
Work hard, play hard, rest hard - this London County Council nursery in the East End strikes the right balance.
Magazine and Review show19826 mins Location: Hamstall Ridware
The fight to save the village shop at Hamstall Ridware heightens as shoppers fall for the allure of the new fangled supermarket.
Public Information Filler195816 mins Location: London
Baths, bumps, fights and football all feature in this promotional film looking at social care for children under the London County Council.
School programme and Educational film196120 mins Location: Riding Mill
A sweet educational film from the era of ink wells, pen nibs and butterfly nets.
Amateur film19806 mins Location: Crawley
Crawley is the venue for a great gathering of buses and coaches to celebrate a half-century of Green Line services in this memorable film from Beryl Armstrong
Amateur film19472 minsSilent Location: Willesden
Short film showing mounds of rubbish arriving in Willesden’s municipal tip, which workers attempt to filter and disperse.
Documentary197326 mins Location: Nottingham
The styles, streets and music of 1970s Nottingham are engagingly evoked in this industrial process film.
Industry sponsored film195720 mins
Illustrating the efficiency of express freight trains, and how they link manufacturers with their customers at the other end of Britain.
Non-Fiction18991 minsSilent Location: Westminster
"London's Burning, London's Burning"... A dynamic early film of horse-drawn fire engines 'turning out' at Southwark Bridge Road.
Documentary192535 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Young scholars get busy for Newcastle-on-Tyne's 'Education Week' in this charming tour of Tyneside classrooms.
Student film19714 mins Location: Durham
A rough and ready student film goes on the buses in Durham, from early morning to the fag end of the day smokers still allowed in the 1970s.
Public Information Filler195721 mins Location: Croydon
Nonagenarian croquet players and Brighton day trips feature in this study of social services in Croydon, focussing on help given to the elderly, lonely, sick and disabled.
Documentary197227 minsSilent Location: Stratford
Slicing ham by day, gliding across a dance floor by night - introducing Mr and Mrs Rainbird, proud owners of a grocery shop on Romford Rd, Newham.
See how stories made it onto the presses - the old fashioned way - in this fascinating and nostalgic film promoting the Portsmouth Evening News
Documentary19735 mins Location: North Kensington
A pioneering law centre with a radical agenda: ‘bringing law to the people’ in the early 1970s.
197211 minsSilent Location: Wakefield
Short documentary about how prison officers are trained and the impact this has at Wakefield maximum security prison.
Short documentary196313 mins Location: East Tuddenham
Be it in cassock or country tweed, this rural vicar's role is certainly varied as he juggles his duties as clergyman, advisor, school governor, diplomat and pianist!
Telephone Cables: Machine Operation, Dagenham (1950s)Telephone Cables: Machine Operation, Dagenham (1950s)
Sponsored film19544 minsSilent Location: Dagenham
Fascinating glimpse of working life showing women operating machinery at the huge Telephone Cables factory in Dagenham in the late 1950s.
Public Information Filler197224 mins Location: London
From schools to sewers, this film explores the roles and responsibilities of local councils, visiting almost every London borough in the process.
Documentary196112 mins Location: Hertford
The inner-workings of local paper the Hertford Mercury are revealed by young, fresh-thinking reporter Peter Gibbs on his hunt for a regional scoop.
School programme and Educational film194716 minsSilent Location: Glasgow
Glasgow police on their daily beat are kept busy protecting "your person and your property".
NHS on Film
Film has the power to change lives – and even save them. No surprise, then, that moving images have played an important role in one of the world’s greatest public health services.