This film is part of Free

Spare Time

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. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.