London’s Screen Archives:
the regional network

London has no publicly funded regional film archive, but much moving image material made in and about the capital is held by museums, libraries, archives, educational bodies and community groups. This new network is working to support these collections and make them better known and more accessible.


London Screen Study Collection

This is an accessible reference library holding viewing copies of moving image material made about and in London. The Collection is housed in the new Centre for Film and Visual Media Research at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Selected London films from the Post-Second World War period

These selected films available from the London Screen Study Collection, offer a portrait of London at the end of the Second World War and in the years of reconstruction that led up to the 1948 Olympics and the Festival of Britain in 1951.

What films from this time can give us is a real sense of the feelings and attitudes of the time. They give a sense of gender differences, what is meant by 'English-ness' and 'London-ness' and a view of various aspects of everyday life such as food, housing, clothes and entertainment.

The picture we get from the mass of films made between 1944 and 1951 is of the real hardship that many people had to put up with, along with a sense of anger as well as cheerfully ‘carrying on’. Many of these films also introduce us to some of the new ideas and institutions that were being established in the post-war period, such as the new National Health Service.

The films available to view, in surrogate copies, at the Study Collection include a mixture of officially produced documentaries and newsreel films from a variety of sources and donated from a number of archives and collections around London.

The films may be viewed at:
The London Screen Study Collection
43 Gordon Square WC1H 0PD

Find out more about London's Screen Archives - the new regional network, at their website.