This film is part of Free
Working to a Pattern
Rag trade revival or sweatshops? In the back streets of Brick Lane, Bangladeshi machinists sew 70s fashions
Sweatshops in Spitalfields are the focus in this episode of Home from Home, a series examining the lives of the Bangladeshi community living in London. It looks at the history of the rag trade and the severe working conditions of Bengali machinists working long hours for low pay. For many unskilled workers new to the area, the rag trade in the East End was a source of income.
With a history of migration to the area from the French Huguenots to Jewish and Irish communities, Spitalfields was known for cheap housing and the rag trade. In the late 50s and again in the mid-late 70s Bangladeshis from the villages of Sylhet settled in Spitalfields and the surrounding area. Often in the poorest housing conditions and facing violent racism, they chose to live together in these tight-knit communities. Unskilled and keen to work, they reinvigorated the rag trade by providing cheap labour to major suppliers as machinists.
Home movie 1937 20 mins Silent Location: Llangollen
Nellie Boote's laundry in Market Street in operation, the women dashing away with all manner of smoothing irons as clothes are sorted, mended, washed, ironed and sorted again.
Documentary 1965 24 mins Location: Langley Mill
A mile of yarn and a million loops to make one stocking: the culmination of a four hundred year old craft.
News 1967 6 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Fashion doesnt grow on treesor does it! Tyne Tees TV was bang on-trend with this brilliant news feature on the hip 1960s cult for a disposable age - paper fashion.
Industry sponsored film 1971 23 mins Location: Greengates
Twisted yarns and empty spindles, everything from Bouclé to Slub yarn, from beginning to end, and all, in the end, displayed on a ‘normal’ model in typical 1970s fashion.
Winter Fashions have been Modelled in a Park in Exmouth Winter Fashions have been Modelled in a Park in Exmouth
News 1977 2 mins Silent Location: Exmouth
Wearing Fur gets Hairy
Promotional 1925 21 mins Silent Location: Werneth
The manufacture of textile machinery in Oldham - men make the machines that produce the cloth.
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.