This film is part of Free

Bradford Suburban

The hope for a bright post war future for this newly built council estate in Bradford in 1961, with dads tending the gardens and kids playing on jiggers in the streets.

Non-Fiction 1961 11 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


It’s the dawn of the 1960s and the idealism of post-war urban developers is in full view in this film of the birth of one of the largest council estates in Europe. The song ‘Little Boxes’, made famous by Pete Seeger, and written the year after this film, may well have been inspired by it. The Holmewood estate in Bradford looks very appealing, with children out playing and the new tenants clearly very house proud: a view of what promised so much, before it became what it did.

This film is one of very many made by the prolific Bradford filmmakers C.H. Wood, who are better known for their films of various motor sports. Presumably this was a film for Bradford City Council to promote the recently completed Holmewood housing estate, with its first tenants. The estate is now run jointly by Bradford Council and a social housing company, Incommunities. Traditionally its population has been white British, but in recent years new groups from different ethnic backgrounds have moved into the area, leading to increased tensions between the settled community and newcomers. However, over the last few years there have been several initiatives aimed at fostering better community relations.