Greenwich Heritage Centre
The collection is comprised of around two hundred items on film, video and DVD formats, and includes both published and unpublished material.
The Greenwich Heritage Centre is the local history facility provided by the Royal Borough of Greenwich, comprising a museum, archive and library devoted to the rich history of this part of London. We use the collections from all three departments to inform and entertain through temporary exhibitions and programmmes of adult and school-age education. For those wishing to research further, our study area provides an access point to the collections and advice from staff.
Artillery SquareRoyal Arsenal
Phone: 020 8854 2452
Access: We do not have the facilities to show film or video formats. DVDs can be viewed in the study area by prior arrangement. Listening to audio will require headphones, please supply your own. The Centre is open Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm. Staff are on hand in the Search Room for assistance and advice.
We collect moving image material in any format that relates to the history of area now covered by the Royal Borough of Greenwich and its inhabitants.
The Heritage Centre was contacted recently by someone searching for some old film footage in which his wife's grandfather, a retired sheet metal worker and recently widowed, had once appeared. In the film the grandfather, then a young man, was seen riding his motorbike for what he remembered being a public information film made shortly after World War Two, though all he now had to show for it were three stills taken during filming. These gave few clues as to the film's identity, but fortunately one of them showed a factory sign for G.A. Harvey & Co, a firm based in Charlton, London SE7, and this had led the enquirer to us. Even more fortunately we were able to identify the film as it had recently been digitised by London Screen Archives, having remained an un-viewed reel of 16mm for many years. It is called Unguarded Moment and was made by the Greenwich Local Safety Unit. In it, three workers leave the factory at the end of the day to go home. They travel along numerous local streets still recognizable today, one by tram, another by bicycle and a third (called 'Johnny' in the film) by motorbike. Each takes unnecessary risks to get home quickly, and the film ends with a memorable twist and a stern warning from the narrator about road safety - a classic of the genre. Happily, we were able to supply the family with a copy.
Jonathan Partington, Research Services Officer