This film is part of Free
Sunshine in Soho
1950s Soho beats with far more energy than its 21st century counterpart in this vivid time capsule.
This gloriously colourful day-in-the-life portrait of mid-50s Soho and its annual Summer Fair is a nostalgia trip for anyone familiar with central London's beloved bohemian sanctuary - or what's left of it. This was a thriving and truly multicultural community: Italian delis, French patisseries and Greek-Cypriot cafes jostled for space alongside jazz bars like the Granada, while market traders hawked exotic foods yet to be discovered by most British people (aubergine, anyone?).
We see models from the 'Visual Arts Club' strut their stuff in the parade, as waiters from local restaurants compete in a race through streets where the remnants of wartime bomb damage can still be glimpsed. Many of the locations (Old Compton Street's Algerian coffee store; the Berwick Street market) still exist (for now) but the increasingly dull commercialism of the area today and the accelerating rate of gentrification make this a film to cherish - and for 21st century activists, a call to action perhaps...
Public Information Filler 1940 7 mins
This informative herring aid from WWII makes no bones about the need to make the most of every fish
News 1972 5 mins Location: Wednesbury
Tasting the plain, good 'fittle' of the Black Country - just remember to pull the hairs out of those pork scratchings.
News 1979 4 mins Location: Moseley
A new type of shop appears on the high street: Indian sweets have arrived in Birmingham.
Non-Fiction 1965 7 mins Location: Birmingham
From the House of Liang Nam to the Kam Ling Bamboo Rooms: the pioneers who made the long journey from Hong Kong to bring Chinese food to Birmingham.
1936 9 mins Silent
Guests to impress? Celebrity chef Marcel Boulestin out a quick veal escalope with the aid of a shiny new gas cooker.
Non-Fiction 1918 4 mins Silent
Handy hints for would-be fromagers
1962 12 mins Location: Soho
A children’s guide to bustling Soho, with a glimpse of its music industry, architecture and thriving restaurant scene.
Documentary 1997 6 mins Location: Soho
Impressions of London's Chinatown during the Chinese new year celebrations for the Year of the Ox.
Documentary 1956 26 mins Silent Location: Soho
This ultra-kitsch documentary goes behind the scenes at Murray's Cabaret Club, where Christine Keeler was later a showgirl.
Documentary 1994 10 mins Location: Soho
Derek Jarman features in this touching documentary about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Promotional 1962 5 mins Silent Location: Soho
The sales practices employed at the LPE Superette run by John Beasley at Berwick Street market.
Documentary 1961 6 mins Silent Location: Soho
Tassel-spinning showgirl Tina stars in this rare 60s British burlesque stage show reel.
Action and Adventure 1923 28 mins Silent Location: Tilbury
Plotting world domination, Devil Doctor Fu-Manchu steals plans for a new aero-torpedo in this earliest surviving thrill-a-minute serial instalment.
Inside Film 2024 16 mins
Filmmakers Jane Giles and Ali Catterall discuss their documentary Scala!!!, revisiting the legendary and inspirational cinema venue and some of the most notorious films that screened there.
Drama 2023 2 mins
A group of young Black boys run into a building. One of them is about to do the unimaginable.
Romance 2023 2 mins
A queercore romance - a visceral and immersive exploration of the power of the mosh pit and finding love in the most unlikely of places.
Charity appeal 1939 10 mins
Long thought lost, this Powell-directed promotional short for a veteran’s charity was only rediscovered in 2003.
Documentary 1941 6 mins
A poignant, stirring letter from a recently deceased pilot to his mother is read by John Gielgud.