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.
From the collection of:
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.