This film is part of Free

On the Level

How accessible was 1980s Britain? Find out here.

Documentary 1985 12 mins



How much of the built environment was accessible in 1980s Britain? This government-sponsored film aimed to raise awareness about the importance of inclusive design to give disabled people independence. Ten years before the first UK disability discrimination legislation came into force, we can see a lot more needs to be done.

Despite the slightly schoolmasterly tone, many of the disabled campaigners taking part in this film were pioneers who fought long and hard for an accessible environment. The law and building regulations have changed significantly since 1985, and all new buildings now have to be built to barrier-free standards, due in a large part to the determination of those activists to change society. 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.