This film is part of Free

Mr. Jenkins Pays His Rates

Slough gets a resounding thumbs-up from a reluctant ratepayer in a surprising 1950s government film.

Documentary 1957 19 mins


The undersung charms of 1950s Slough are used to great effect in this government-backed promo explaining the ins and outs of local government. A reluctant ratepayer has a change of heart once shown the excellent work done by his local Councillor, while a tour of the suburbs and High Street reveals an array of public services: from street lighting to dance classes, sewage works to secondary schools.

Originally made at the behest of the Colonial Office for screening to overseas audiences, the film presents a somewhat rosy and over-simplified view of Britain's local government and democratic processes. Despite John Betjeman's much disparaging poem, ("Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!"), the film's target audience would have had little knowledge of Slough and few pre-conceptions. The decision to film there may have had as much to do with its convenient location close to several film studios as with its qualification as a 'typical' English town.