London’s Screen Archives enables Londoners see their past come alive on film. Managed by Film London, we are a unique network of historic film collections that cares for, collects and screens heritage film across the city. Together we preserve London’s rich film heritage from feature films to home movies, public information films, newsreels, and records of the capital’s many different industries.
This film is part of Free
Inspection of Special Constables
Crowds applaud 900 Special Constables as they drill before a packed pavilion in Barking.
Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Silent
From the collection of:
At the outbreak of war, Sir Edward Ward, who had served In India and the War Office and been appointed Chief Commandant of the Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary, called for more Special Constables to join the ranks, depleted by Army call-ups. Here, 900 such men are diligently inspected by Ward at a playing field in Barking, before they march in squares across the grass to the applause of watching crowds.
The Special Constables were volunteers, paid in expenses, who Ward organised into a more cohesive force during the war. They were asked to guard the water supply, bridges and public buildings from possible action by German agents.
1916 on Film
Shower Baths in the Trenches
Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Silent
A humble scrub is all it takes to get these French troops in a lather.
Tests from Aeroplanes
Non-Fiction 1916 13 mins Silent Location: Chingford
Developing the lifebelt of the air - or "how the stranglehold demon was exorcised"
London's May Queen
Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Silent Location: Hayes Common
Excitable children in their Sunday finery gawp at cameras during the parade for London’s May Queen.
Devonshire Hospital Buxton
Non-Fiction 1916 2 mins Silent Location: Buxton
Rheumatic soldiers are treated with the latest in hydrotherapy at the Devonshire Hospital in Buxton, Derbyshire.
In the Interests of Mercy
Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Silent Location: Croydon
Firepower and fancy dress as a captured German field gun is the focus of a parade through Croydon to mark Red Cross Week.
Topical Budget 245-1
Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Location: Kensington and Chelsea
Brass bands, bicycles and marching special constables outside the Albert Hall for a Sunday presentation before Bishop John Taylor-Smith outside the Albert Hall.
Last day of the RT-type Bus, 1979
Industry sponsored film 1979 6 mins Silent Location: Barking
It's standing room only on board the RT-Type bus as it makes its way through Barking for the last time, in this bittersweet short film from 1979.
The Opening of Barking Swimming Pool
Non-Fiction 1931 mins Silent Location: Barking
Much excitement for the opening of Barking's new swimming pool - better known as the East End's Lido.
Non-Fiction 1926 1 mins Silent Location: Barking
Terrific scenes of comedy walking as hundreds policemen line-up for the annual British Police Walking Championship from Barking to Southend.
Way down East
Non-Fiction 1925 1 mins Silent Location: Barking
Splendid shots of the king’s visit to the opening of a new power station in Barking, with terrific views of gleaming turbines and control panels.
Boulter Family Films: Town Show, Barking & Dagenham (1960s)
Amateur film 1960 mins Silent Location: Barking
Very brief shots from what appears to be the Barking & Dagenham Town Show in the mid-60s, showing some of the local beauty queens on floats.
Comedy 1919 35 mins Silent
A protective father masquerades as an automatic doll in this bonkers interwar comedy.
Spirit of Mayday
1937 11 mins Silent
May Day – a significant day for the labour movement – is covered by the cameras of the Film and Photograph League.
Cornelius Cardew 1936-1981
Performance 1986 55 mins
An exploration of the life and work of the controversial British composer.
1935 9 mins
Let it bleed? This exemplary education film gets to the heart of the matter.
U.A.B. (Workers Newsreel No.3)
Non-Fiction 1935 12 mins Silent
Punchy political film capturing mass protests against unemployment.
The Merry Month of May
1937 15 mins Silent
A spirited satire on the coronation of George VI made by members of the Film and Photograph League.
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