This film is part of Free

Local Government: A History in Pictures

An illustrated history of the thousand years of local government in Norwich

Documentary 1949 11 mins


This enjoyable film uses stylised illustrations – skilfully echoing tapestry, wood carving, and painting – to provide an overview of the development of local government, using the case study of Norwich. From its origins in Saxon times, via the burgesses, aldermen and the first mayors of the city, to the guildhall and city hall of recent years, this film explains the gradual accrual of municipal responsibilities.

As an overview of the development of local government, this film offers imaginative depictions of municipal democracy, and the stylistic changes of the illustrations – from Medieval tapestry to cubist art – underscore the adapting form of local government. Created on behalf of the Ministry of Health, which had responsibility for local government from the end of the First World War until soon after the end of the Second, responsibilities were later passed to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in 1951 and after several departmental changes now lie with the Department for Communities and Local Government.