This film is part of Free
New Towns for Old
Sheffield stands in as 'Smokedale', an industrial Everytown, in this stirring call for "new schools, new hospitals, new roads, new life", after WWII.
Documentary 1942 6 mins
This wartime public information film combines impressive shots of industrial poverty with inspiring words scripted by Dylan Thomas, proffering new housing and better lives after the war. The film was produced by Strand Films, a leading producer of documentaries for the Ministry of Information during World War II, and was intended to boost wartime morale.
Dylan Thomas tries his hand at Yorkshire dialogue in his script for the film. Rather than using a conventional voiceover, he devises a conversation between two young men - with one impressing upon the other (and on the viewer), the urgent need for town planning as they stroll through Smokedale. Thomas later became famous for his 'play for voices', Under Milk Wood, completed in 1953. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.
Britain on Film: Out of the Rubble
Short documentary 2015 18 mins
Visionary filmmaker Penny Woolcock explores half a century of British urban life using films digitised for Britain on Film, the archive project from BFI and its partner archives.
Non-Fiction 1965 7 mins Location: Ladywood
The tattered wallpaper of part demolished housing contrasts with gleaming new tower blocks. Ladywood in Birmingham may be on the up but what about the forgotten people?
Documentary 1945 22 mins Location: Coventry
Coventry prepares to rise from the ashes of WWII in this docu-drama written by Dylan Thomas.
Promotional 1961 39 mins Location: Rotherham
An absorbing picture of council services at the beginning of the 1960s, with babies getting polio jabs and girls having braces fitted, while Roots is playing at the Civic Theatre.
Documentary 1965 26 mins Silent Location: Birmingham
A bright and breezy promotional tour of Brum's original mega-mall.
Campaigning film 1953 18 mins Location: Barnet
Residents of Barnet and Stockton-on-Tees are the lucky beneficiaries of a government scheme to remedy Britain’s housing problem.
Documentary 1897 1 mins Silent Location: Sheffield
Sheffield gives the capital a run for its money with an impressive parade celebrating the monarch, a month before the Diamond Jubilee.
Factual TV 1988 5 mins Location: Sheffield
Sheffield professional sportsmen train determined disabled adults to compete at the Special Olympics in this heart-warming short film. (
Amateur film 1958 7 mins Silent Location: Sheffield
Children from Sheffield enjoy becoming amateur dentists for the day in this informative educational film from the late 1950s.
Sponsored film 1959 9 mins Silent Location: Sheffield
A Sheffield bus strike causes traffic congestion in this film that shows the significant local impact that a workplace dispute can have.
Current affairs 1988 11 mins Location: Leeds
This film sees Sheffield Council reform and modernise their approach to female leisure activities for their diverse and busy community.
Amateur film 1942 19 mins Silent Location: Sheffield
Military men and women from Sheffield put on a show from 1942-1947 in this patriotic compilation film.
Travelogue 1907 9 mins Silent
A grand tour of Japan’s major cities, offering scenic views of the streets and daily life.
Interest film 1913 3 mins Silent
This ethnographic film offers a brief overview of the traditional culture of the Ainu, an ethnic minority in Japan.
Documentary 1905 4 mins
The performance of a masked dancer is followed by a scene from a kendo match, contrasting grace and ferocity.
Non-Fiction 1904 2 mins Silent
In a school gymnastic festival, boys and girls demonstrate their physical rigour through exercise and dance.
Interest film 1909 5 mins Silent
A vibrant festival with parades of fishermen and geisha celebrates the 50th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama Port.
1912 5 mins Silent
Pathécolor’s mechanical stencil colouring is put to good use illustrating a festival at an ancient shrine.