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Work Study and Tom Howard

Railwaymen learn to love work study in this fascinating training film.

Documentary 1958 20 mins Silent


Or: How I learned to stop worrying and give work measurement a chance. The introduction of 'work study' was a significant trend right across post-war industry - and the railways were not exempt. This fascinating 'train the trainers' film was used internally within British Railways. Our hero Tom takes a training course that not only explains work study - more importantly it slightly softens his scepticism. The intention is that equally sceptical viewers will take the same journey.

Work study was a sensitive topic. Employers often turned to film to explain and promote it – no easy task for filmmakers. In the case of British Railways it helped having access to an internal film unit, British Transport Films, that was intimately familiar with its internal culture, people and processes. Even if you judge this film to be managerial propaganda you'd have to admit it makes a good job of a potentially tricky situation - it's properly serious and lucid, yet also light and humane. And the punchline is as important now as it was then: "There has to be mutual trust between men and management".