The North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Our collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of our films are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
A rare outing for a 1945 drama documentary on local studies education in Bishop Auckland by one of Britain's pioneering women directors.
From the collection of:
Directed by innovative British filmmaker Kay Mander, this is a curiosity for devotees of public information films. School children act out new ideas for post-war education and investigate hidden histories near home, exploring industries, farms and Roman ruins around Bishop Auckland, then present an exhibition for local folk. Actuality footage of Wilsons Forge (closed in 1997) serves today as an elegy for one of the lost traditional industries in North East England.
This film was made for the Ministry of Education in 1945, shortly after Conservative politician Rab Butlers 1944 Education Act, dubbed the Childrens Charter, introduced free secondary education for all. This was one of the first commissions for Basic Films, a production company co-founded by Kay Mander, a prolific contributor to documentary filmmaking in 1940s Britain. She worked for both the prestigious Shell Film Unit and Paul Rotha Productions during World War Two, and with Basic Films made the acclaimed Homes for the People (1945) for the Labour Party election campaign.
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