London’s Screen Archives enables Londoners see their past come alive on film. Managed by Film London, we are a unique network of historic film collections that cares for, collects and screens heritage film across the city. Together we preserve London’s rich film heritage from feature films to home movies, public information films, newsreels, and records of the capital’s many different industries.
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The utopian ideals of post-war planning are encapsulated in this absorbing film about the plans for the oft-derided GLC estate of Thamesmead.
From the collection of:
This is a fascinating and with hindsight rather sad study of the building of Thamesmead, a new town in south-east London that was envisaged as “a town for the 21st century” but which was soon plagued by social problems caused by lack of facilities and public transport. Includes great shots of the estate being built as well as derelict munitions factories and abandoned homes that occupied the site before construction began. Filmed in 1970, before the project was complete.
An early sign of the problems to face Thamesmead comes in a public meeting for residents, one of whom wonders whether communal areas have only been cleaned because of an impending visit by dignitaries to open new tower blocks. Thamesmead was driven by utopian ideals but this wasn’t always reflected by its later management. The scale of the planning is fascinating to behold, with every area carefully considered – which just goes to show how difficult it is to create from scratch something as organic as a community.
Documentary 1968 15 mins Location: Thamesmead
A short film celebrating the planning and construction of Thamesmead in south-east London, envisaged as a utopia for modern living.
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.