This film is part of Free

Cardigan Rd, Kilburn (Fun Palace outtakes)

Lost London: fun and vibrant life on a Kilburn street, demolished soon after in slum clearances

1963 3 mins Silent


A fragment of lost London: a once-lively residential street in north-west London, Cardigan Road NW16 no longer exists. While this film shows the locals chatting, playing or hanging out on their front steps, not long after it was shot, the whole street, just off Kilburn Park Road, was demolished as part of the postwar slum clearance programme.

This footage was shot for a film to support theatre director and filmmaker Joan Littlewood's idea for a 'Fun Palace' - a huge movable construction that would house education and entertainment attractions. In 1963 Littlewood shot 60 reels of 16mm rushes around London to show what people currently did for leisure and to demonstrate that something else was needed. The film was finished but is now lost, and sadly Joan's Fun Palace never got built. However, the rushes paint a fantastic picture of the period, with many expertly filmed by cameraman Walter Lassally, who also shot We are the Lambeth Boys and A Taste of Honey.