This film is part of Free

Proud City A Plan for London

Post-war town planning for "the greatest city the world has ever known".

Documentary 1946 24 mins


"London - the greatest city the world has ever known": the opening line sets a lofty tone for this film about the idealistic plans to transform London after the bomb damage of World War II. The chief architects, Sir Patrick Abercrombie and J.H. Forshaw, present their proposals to camera in what now seems a stilted manner. But their words are combined with some excellent footage of the best and worst of London.

The proposals are presented as an 'idea' rather than something hard and fast; however the film spells out some detailed plans, particularly in the Stepney area. Coincidentally, this area had featured in another - very famous - film about slum housing, Housing Problems (1935). Little appears to have improved in the intervening ten years. The swelling music is a notable feature of the film and the composer, William Alwyn, also had a lengthy career in the film industry, working on feature films like The Fallen Idol (1948), directed by Carol Reed. 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.