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
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 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 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 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 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.
Grounded on the Platters: HMS Conway
Home movie 1953 7 mins Location: Anglesey/Ynysmôn
A sorry end to any ship: timings, tide and wind played their part in pushing HMS Conway onto the Platters rocks in the Menai Strait on 14/4/1953.
Exeter Real Ale Festival
News 1975 3 mins Location: Exeter
The wet and warm ale goes down a treat as aficionados gather to celebrate real ale.
Home movie 1955 8 mins Location: Llanddwyn Island/Ynys Llanddwyn
Sea pinks and samphire, lighthouses and church ruins – Llanddwyn’s charms are many and varied.
News 1979 2 mins Location: Plymouth
Experimentation with a coat for two leaves couples with really no escape.
Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music
News 1970 2 mins Location: Shepton Mallet
Progressive gathering of festival goers hits the blues.
Dawson: Lower Penn Show
Home movie 1954 4 mins Location: Lower Penn
Another blustery summer day in the 1950s and it's Lower Penn's carnival parade.