Through film, we can see how cultural and technological progress has altered the urban landscape from the end of the 1800’s clear through to the modern day, to visually show not only these seismic changes, but also the attitudes of the people faced with them.
Dirt roads, old bi-level buses, and people strolling. It is a glimpse of a bye-gone era, the “old” London. In one shot, we get a horse-drawn carriage driving through frame, then in the next, a bus. This crossroads between the New and the Old, in such jarring fashion, yet in such close proximity.
In this film, we are shown the plans at the time for the rebuilding of Barbican. Left desolate after the war, this piece, accompanied by a jaunty tune and chipper narrator, marvels at the new era approaching, where these plans become a reality.
Interviews with residents and other people, tourists, business-owners, politicians, all of whom strike a tone that investment is needed to not only get people to visit Greenwich and its then already existing tourism destinations, but to keep them there by developing the borough further to include more amenities.
Greenwich Reach 2000. A Major Leisure and Retail Development Proposal
Preservation of green space, construction of new recreational facilities for every new development, building hotels and business parks near Heathrow. This plan for Hillingdon shows a method of development that would preserve the core identity of the borough for existing residents without completely forgoing the opportunity to take advantage of nearby Heathrow Airport. Strikingly, the video, while in English, notes that it is also available in Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, and other languages. It shows the changing demographics of London over the 20th Century.
The Draft Unitary Development Plan
This film showing the development and growth of Uxbridge in the mid 20th century. Railroads in the process of extending their lines marketing the area as if it were some far-flung exotic paradise. Their campaign worked, as the population of Uxbridge grew from about 600 in 1901 to over 15,000 by 1939. In so many areas, it was the same story, as the growing population began landing further and further outside the "center" of the city.
Local News of Uxbridge Between the Year 1934 and 1995
Here we get a combination of vital perspectives: those of the politicians in Southwark, and those of the members of a citizens group protesting the changes which were then proposed for the land along the Thames. Despite the significance of their disagreement, there remains a degree of civility between parties.
Southwark (Cities series)
This film chronicles the construction of the titular estate from 1951 to 1962. It starts out as meadows, rolling fields, dirt roads crossing the greenery. Then comes a main road, and then the construction equipment. Dozens of brick buildings, more roads, tree-lined courts, and families.
The Development of Mark's Gate Housing Estate
Made as an advertisement for the new Thamesmead development, we are shown the sort of daily life one could have if they decide to move in. However, we are not shown the perspective of those from the area prior and their attitudes towards the project.
Living at Thamesmead
This film from the 1940's illustrates the importance of the docks of London to the nation. 30,000 specialised employees, dozens of warehouses all along the waterfront. It is a far cry from the present day, and the ripple effects of those jobs moving or shrinking can be seen in other pieces included here.
City of Ships, River Thames and Docklands (1940)