This film is part of Free

A World Is Turning

A lost chapter in black British film: extraordinary rushes from a documentary showcasing talented members of the black community.

Documentary 1948 45 mins


Six tantalising reels of rushes are all that remain of this unfinished film showcasing talented members of Britain's black community. These scenes, often in multiple takes, include legendary jazz singer Adelaide Hall rehearsing and performing at London's Nightingale Club, a black poet speaking in verse as an African dance troupe performs, and a black surgeon operating on a white patient.

While these dramatised scenes may now appear rather awkward, this is a rare treasure - a forgotten attempt to highlight the contribution of black men and women to British society at a time when they were struggling for visibility on our screens. It's possible that A World is Turning was planned to coincide with the arrival of the first large group of West Indian immigrants on the Empire Windrush in June 1948, but filming appears to have been halted when the director fell ill.