The IWM Film Archive is the oldest film archive in the UK, holding over 20,000 hours of film, video and digital material and covering the two World Wars and all conflicts involving British or Commonwealth Forces since the start of the Twentieth Century to the present. Our collection also reflects aspects of civilian life in wartime, military life in peacetime, military exercises and operations.
This film is part of Free
A behind the scenes look at civil defence work during and after a Luftwaffe bombing raid on Bristol during the Second World War.
Government sponsored film 1942 23 mins
From the collection of:
The civil defence network grafts tirelessly to combat the mounting casualty lists and bomb damaged streets on Bristol’s home front. Coordinated by a Control Centre, which comes into its own under challenging circumstances. Picking a way through the devastation, ‘Control Room’ offers a different perspective of civil defence work, sometimes overlooked in the retelling of the Blitz experience.
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.
Life Under Fire
Amateur film 1939 16 mins Silent Location: Littleover
An air raid could come at any moment and Derby had to be ready to deal with the casualties. The people of Littleover were so well prepapred they filmed one of their exercises.
Home movie 1940 9 mins Silent Location: Sandiacre
From their sandbagged headquarters, the Sandiacre ARP and Red Cross await their call to action.
Government sponsored film 1940 9 mins Location: London
Humphrey Jennings and Harry Watt’s famous GPO film is an enduring example of British self-mythology; a hymn to London’s resilience that helped persuade America to join the war.
Charity appeal 1939 2 mins Silent Location: Norwich
Sweet and touching wartime cinema appeal for 300,000 London children spending Christmas far from home.
Amateur film 1945 9 mins Silent Location: Southwark
Step into the aftermath of a WWII bombing raid in south London in this startling amateur film.
Public Information Filler 1939 2 mins
Matter-of-fact wartime instruction in how to fit your gas mask efficiently - leaving no margin for error.
Non-Fiction 1928 0 mins Silent Location: Bristol
The future King Edward VIII takes to the waves at Bristol after opening a new dock extension
Documentary 1958 9 mins Silent Location: Bristol
Blitz-scarred Bristol's redevelopment programme was blighted by a succession of disputes, explored in this campaigning film
News 1964 1 mins Silent Location: Bristol
Work on the sister ship to the Scillonian is progressing in Bristol shipyard.
Documentary 1939 21 mins Silent Location: Bristol
Aeroplanes, mops and cigarettes are all produced in "busy Bristol" - as illustrated in this action-packed short film
Amateur film 1949 25 mins Silent Location: Rumney
A summer of shows – Rumney Horse Show Society's Show, Vale of Glamorgan Agricultural Show, Usk Farmers' Club Show – and a visit to Bristol Zoo where children ride on an elephant.
Amateur film 1931 1 mins Silent Location: Crewkerne
Madcap home movie road trip around south west England - speeding through rural Somerset and Dorset up to Bristol.
Documentary 2020 11 mins
Searching for one of the last people to speak Gayle - a secret language the gay community were forced to invent during Apartheid.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 2017 4 mins
A comedy-drama animation about two best friends growing up in the same world but experiencing it completely differently.
Drama 2019 14 mins
An African Pentecostal Pastor questions everything she believes after a life-changing event.
Drama 2018 8 mins
Samona Olanipekun explores the concepts of home, identity and belonging, from the starting point of the theme of globalisation.
Drama 2017 16 mins
Compelling story of a complex relationship between an imperious father and his son.
Documentary 2020 28 mins
Three African American fathers unravel the incomparable partnership of forgiveness and community.
About the archive
Know this place?
Do you recognise a place, building or location in this film?
Help us populate the Britain on Film map by spotting and plotting the street or location you know. This is a BFI project and anyone can help.
Go to our Britain on Film crowdsourcing site and contribute to our mapping mission – to identify locations within our archive films.Add a location