This film is part of Free

South Bank

This fascinating 60s tour catches London's South Bank in the middle of a cultural metamorphosis.

Documentary 1964 13 mins


Thirteen years after the Festival of Britain, it's all change once again on London's South Bank. With the sci-fi saucer that was the Dome of Discovery long gone, this gentle boat tour along the Thames takes in County Hall, Royal Dutch Shell's imposing new HQ, and the building site next to the Royal Festival Hall that would blossom into the Hayward Gallery, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Rooms.

The film's final minutes offer a compelling glimpse inside the National Film Theatre, as filmgoers emerge from the latest Jean-Luc Godard offering and Jeanne Moreau, one of the brightest stars of the 'nouvelle vague', sparkles down from the poster board: a touch of continuity in an area that was evolving into London's most vibrant cultural quarter. Intriguingly, the commentary suggests the new National Theatre was to be built in front of the Shell building, rather than on the other side of Waterloo Bridge, where it eventually opened in 1976.