London’s Screen Archives enables Londoners see their past come alive on film. Managed by Film London, we are a unique network of historic film collections that cares for, collects and screens heritage film across the city. Together we preserve London’s rich film heritage from feature films to home movies, public information films, newsreels, and records of the capital’s many different industries.
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Sidney Estate, Somers Town, Children's House
Happy, ragged children are shown in their swanky new estate in Somers Town, which replaced some of London’s worst housing.
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There’s little explanation offered by captions for this film, which shows a new housing estate in London, the St George’s Flats in the Sidney Street Estate in Somers Town. This was one of central London’s largest slums – some of the old housing is shown on film – but those streets were demolished when the new, carefully designed, estate was constructed. Children are shown playing in their new surroundings, which was described as the Garden City of Somers Town.
The film also shows children escaping the city for a day in the country at Walliswood in Surrey. The flats at Somers Town were built by the St Pancras House Improvement Society, founded in 1924 by Basil Jellicoe, a priest, who named the four new blocks after saints. There were some intriguing design features and also far better facilities than the residents had been used to previously. The estate – now called the Sidney Estate – was opened in 1938.
1937 14 mins Silent Location: Somers Town
Slums are demolished to make way for new homes in Somers Town, central London.
Campaigning film 1941 17 mins Silent Location: Somers Town
"Plague spots in the richest city in the world" - slums are demolished to make way for new homes in Somers Town, London.
Action and Adventure 1923 28 mins Silent Location: Tilbury
Plotting world domination, Devil Doctor Fu-Manchu steals plans for a new aero-torpedo in this earliest surviving thrill-a-minute serial instalment.
Inside Film 2024 16 mins
Filmmakers Jane Giles and Ali Catterall discuss their documentary Scala!!!, revisiting the legendary and inspirational cinema venue and some of the most notorious films that screened there.
Drama 2023 2 mins
A group of young Black boys run into a building. One of them is about to do the unimaginable.
Romance 2023 2 mins
A queercore romance - a visceral and immersive exploration of the power of the mosh pit and finding love in the most unlikely of places.
Charity appeal 1939 10 mins
Long thought lost, this Powell-directed promotional short for a veteran’s charity was only rediscovered in 2003.
Documentary 1941 6 mins
A poignant, stirring letter from a recently deceased pilot to his mother is read by John Gielgud.