This film is part of Free
A City Reborn
Coventry prepares to rise from the ashes of WWII in this docu-drama written by Dylan Thomas.
Documentary 1945 22 mins
Scripted by poet Dylan Thomas, this affecting docu-drama recalls the incendiary bombing of Coventry on 14 November 1940. The film focusses on reconstruction and morale: we see the city's rebirth through the eyes of a young local couple planning for their future, and an engineer interested in the new housing drive. This is one of several 1940s films introducing cinemagoers to the good old 'prefab'.
Though the city's industrial infrastructure was a key wartime target, the ultimate casualty was its beautiful medieval centre, and most famously the Cathedral, which were almost totally destroyed. This and other raids cost the lives of over 1,200 civilians. So symbolic was the destruction that Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels boasted about plans to "Coventrate" other cities. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.
Britain on Film: Out of the Rubble
Short documentary 2015 18 mins
Visionary filmmaker Penny Woolcock explores half a century of British urban life using films digitised for Britain on Film, the archive project from BFI and its partner archives.
Non-Fiction 1965 7 mins Location: Ladywood
The tattered wallpaper of part demolished housing contrasts with gleaming new tower blocks. Ladywood in Birmingham may be on the up but what about the forgotten people?
Documentary 1942 6 mins Location: Sheffield
Sheffield stands in as 'Smokedale', an industrial Everytown, in this stirring call for "new schools, new hospitals, new roads, new life", after WWII.
Promotional 1961 39 mins Location: Rotherham
An absorbing picture of council services at the beginning of the 1960s, with babies getting polio jabs and girls having braces fitted, while Roots is playing at the Civic Theatre.
Documentary 1965 26 mins Silent Location: Birmingham
A bright and breezy promotional tour of Brum's original mega-mall.
Campaigning film 1953 18 mins Location: Barnet
Residents of Barnet and Stockton-on-Tees are the lucky beneficiaries of a government scheme to remedy Britain’s housing problem.
Amateur film 1965 12 mins Location: London
Join the Clague family as they zoom up an empty M1 to Stratford upon Avon, Long Itchington and Coventry - a city reborn after its 1940 destruction
Current affairs 1986 7 mins Location: Coventry
Two councils with two different approaches to LGBT rights.
Current affairs 1978 9 mins Location: West Bromwich
The UK's immigration laws have prevented Dara Singh from seeing his family for a decade. His is one of many sad stories...
Documentary 1975 26 mins Location: Ruddington
The industrial Midlands pioneered textile production; from the framework knitters of Nottinghamshire to the birth of the modern factory in the Derwent valley in Derbyshire.
News 1965 3 mins Location: Coventry
As normal the fans are packed into Coventry City's Highfield Road ground for a match. The difference is that the game is being played 130 miles away in Cardiff.
Amateur film 1936 11 mins Silent Location: Coventry
The surreal presence of barrage balloons on the Coventry skyline gives this home movie an end-of-an-era feel.
Travelogue 1907 9 mins Silent
A grand tour of Japan’s major cities, offering scenic views of the streets and daily life.
Interest film 1913 3 mins Silent
This ethnographic film offers a brief overview of the traditional culture of the Ainu, an ethnic minority in Japan.
Documentary 1905 4 mins
The performance of a masked dancer is followed by a scene from a kendo match, contrasting grace and ferocity.
Non-Fiction 1904 2 mins Silent
In a school gymnastic festival, boys and girls demonstrate their physical rigour through exercise and dance.
Interest film 1909 5 mins Silent
A vibrant festival with parades of fishermen and geisha celebrates the 50th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama Port.
1912 5 mins Silent
Pathécolor’s mechanical stencil colouring is put to good use illustrating a festival at an ancient shrine.