This film is part of Free

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.

1933 11 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


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.