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
Fire of London
This British propaganda film, made in 1945 for newly liberated countries in Europe, takes a positive view of British resilience during the Blitz.
Government sponsored film 1945 16 mins
From the collection of:
Filmed by the Army Film Unit, the National Fire Service and newsreel cameramen, the ‘Fire of London’ is a retelling of how relentlessly the fires burned in London, and other British towns and cities, during the Blitz. It pays tribute to members of the home services, who endured nightly raids and disruption to their daily lives to save what they could.
Originally made in sixteen different languages for liberated Europeans, the film’s defiant propaganda message serves to remind the audience of how the ‘Blitz spirit’ eventually prevailed.
Life Under Fire
Activities Pictured at Littleover First Aid Post
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.
Ibberson Family and VE Day
Home movie 1945 17 mins Silent Location: Sheffield
Whether it’s the height of the war or its aftermath makes no difference to these children enjoying themselves: at the seaside, on V E Day and around the bomb sites of Sheffield.
Welwyn Garden City - The War Years
Amateur film 1939 15 mins Silent Location: Welwyn Garden City
A great example of ‘despite war, life continues’, Welwyn Garden City residents continue with annual traditions, festive occasions and celebrations, during wartime.
U.S. And Us
Advert 1943 2 mins
An American G.I. learns how to brew a proper English cuppa in this jolly wartime ad for Maypole tea.
What Is One among So Many?
Documentary 1943 17 mins Silent
"A bomb's cut the gas off. Where can we get a meal?" Look no further than the Friends Relief Service.
Family Album to Entertain
Amateur film 1940 14 mins Silent Location: Broadwater
Life in Broadwater seems unaffected by the war in this film - especially when friends and relations drop by - though a closer look reveals that all is not quite what it seems.
Pa Puts His Foot Down
Advert 1934 16 mins Location: London
Romance blossoms over a discussion of fluid flywheels in this cinema ad for BSA cars directed by Zoltan Korda.
Havant By-Pass construction, Langstone and Pook Lane
Amateur film 1964 4 mins Silent Location: Havant
Watch as the countryside around Havant disappears under the tarmac of the future M27 - with nostaligic shots of Langstone Harbour and a very leafy Pook Lane
Unveiling Eros and West End cinemas
Amateur film 1985 3 mins Location: London
Relive the 1980s in this nostalgic film from Alan Stingemore - featuring a variety of flagship cinemas, the relocation of Eros as well as a few cinemas that have since disappeared
Brighton Seaside - Airshow & Silver Jubilee in Bromley
Amateur film 1977 11 mins Silent Location: Brighton
Tony Mitchell captures a variety of events during Jubilee year - including day trips to Brighton and a bunting covered London as well as an accident at an airshow
St Faith's go to Kew for tea
Amateur film 1936 20 mins Silent Location: Brentford
Enjoy a nostalgic trip down river with members of the St Faith community - with tea at Kew, feeding penguins at London Zoo and lots of chatter - all in sign language!
About Britain - Second Edition
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
Torture and Pleasure
Current affairs 1980 5 mins Location: Thurlestone
Gerald Haycock embarks on a torture and pleasure weekend and goes from reward-based hard exercise to eating and drinking.
Current affairs 1968 4 mins Location: Nettlecombe
Estate once owned by the father of King Harold, Godwin has never been bought or sold.
Charm Hostess and Mannequin School
Current affairs 1965 6 mins Location: Exeter
Women are put through their deportment paces and all in the name of etiquette.
Current affairs 1969 3 mins Location: Perranporth
Andy Price checks out how to make your own surfboard.
Hafod-y-Ddôl Grammar School, Nantyglo: sports, science and snow
Home movie 1960 8 mins Silent Location: Nantyglo
The sun shines on the school sports, ensuring good trade for the ice-cream vendor; in winter it makes the snow that halts train and car sparkle.
Whirlwinds at RAF St Mawgan
Current affairs 1962 3 mins Location: St Mawgan
RAF 22 Squadron provides air-sea rescue for the South West with new HAR 10 Whirlwind helicopters.
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