This film is part of Free

Know Your Borough: Merton

Civic pride in Merton, as this film celebrates the borough’s parks, playgrounds and, er, sewage works, while also showing the “ancient ceremony of mayor-making”.

Non-Fiction 1951 12 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


In an attempt to show the residents of Merton why they paid their taxes, the borough produced this film celebrating local parks and playgrounds but also explaining how things like refuse and sewage are dealt with. It’s an engaging and informative film, but one that always has an eye on the bottom line - narrator Frank Phillips, a BBC newsreader, is quick to point out that through recycling and fertiliser, these services invariably pay for themselves.

The film features numerous locations in Merton, including the town hall and council chamber, the refuse station in Durnsford Road and nearby sewage works, the Wandle – where effluent is discharged, “being considerably cleaner than the water already there” – Wimbledon Common and Cannizaro Park. Highlights include some lovely scenes of kids in the playground, a streetcleaner at work and local traffic – including a driver who merrily disobeys the laws of zebra crossings in the opening sequence.  Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre