This film is part of Free
A rare glimpse into the leisure pursuits of ordinary people in pre-war Britain.
Documentary 1939 14 mins
Humphrey Jennings epitomises the artist-filmmaker and this poetic evocation of ordinary people enjoying well-earned time away from the mill, mine, or foundry is a forerunner to Jennings’ later wartime greats such as Listen to Britain. Joyous shots of people either pigeon fancying, ballroom dancing or swigging a pint down the local in in Sheffield, Manchester, Bolton and Pontypridd are edited with grace and surrealism-infused wit.
Spare Time is also available on the BFI DVD set The GPO Film Unit Collection Volume Three: If War Should Come.
Around the Village Green
Travelogue 1937 12 mins Location: Finchingfield
Rural life in the Essex villages of Finchingfield and Great Bardfield - and the mixed reactions of older residents to changing times.
Drama 1965 12 mins Location: Highgate Cemy
A bittersweet short about a young girl who spends an afternoon playing in Highgate Cemetery where she discovers what the future may have to offer.
Documentary 1970 17 mins Location: Ilford
To the front line of London's early 1970s' housing crisis in this angry campaign film.
Road to Yesterday
Travelogue 1944 32 mins
Widgey Raphael Newman, the short-lived, extraordinarily-named director of this period piece, has assembled attractive images of Wales but beware the commentary!
The Airy Tomb
Drama 1963 13 mins Location: Pontrhydfendigaid
An isolated life can mean that home is nothing more than an “airy tomb”, as imagined by poet and rural parish priest R S Thomas.
Documentary 1977 1 mins Silent
Not-so-special special effects add the magic touch to this kitsch British Rail commercial.
Factual TV 1988 5 mins Location: Sheffield
Sheffield professional sportsmen train determined disabled adults to compete at the Special Olympics in this heart-warming short film. (
Take Care of Your Teeth
Amateur film 1958 7 mins Silent Location: Sheffield
Children from Sheffield enjoy becoming amateur dentists for the day in this informative educational film from the late 1950s.
Bus Strike Traffic
Sponsored film 1959 9 mins Silent Location: Sheffield
A Sheffield bus strike causes traffic congestion in this film that shows the significant local impact that a workplace dispute can have.
Women and Leisure
Current affairs 1988 11 mins Location: Leeds
This film sees Sheffield Council reform and modernise their approach to female leisure activities for their diverse and busy community.
Wartime Events in Sheffield
Amateur film 1942 19 mins Silent Location: Sheffield
Military men and women from Sheffield put on a show from 1942-1947 in this patriotic compilation film.
Sheffield Peace March
Non-Fiction 1936 7 mins Silent Location: Sheffield
As the rise of fascism casts a shadow over Europe, the people of Sheffield take to the streets to deliver a powerful message.
Comedy 1919 35 mins Silent
A protective father masquerades as an automatic doll in this bonkers interwar comedy.
Spirit of Mayday
1937 11 mins Silent
May Day – a significant day for the labour movement – is covered by the cameras of the Film and Photograph League.
Cornelius Cardew 1936-1981
Performance 1986 55 mins
An exploration of the life and work of the controversial British composer.
1935 9 mins
Let it bleed? This exemplary education film gets to the heart of the matter.
U.A.B. (Workers Newsreel No.3)
Non-Fiction 1935 12 mins Silent
Punchy political film capturing mass protests against unemployment.
The Merry Month of May
1937 15 mins Silent
A spirited satire on the coronation of George VI made by members of the Film and Photograph League.