Media Archive for Central England


Second World War Collection

Serving the East and West Midlands the Media Archive for Central England (MACE) has acquired moving image materials that reflect very different aspects of World War II home front from right across the two regions.

From Shrewsbury the archive has bren gun carriers speeding away from Sentinel Waggon Works where they were made and the official VE Day celebrations in the town. Moving East across the region, the archive holds films in which the mayor of Birmingham appeals for people to join the Air Raid Precautions service (ARP) in 1938 and the Home Guard parading before a captivated audience, probably in 1940. Crossing into Derbyshire there are images of local ARP training exercises, the construction of an underground air raid shelter as well as more VE day celebrations and skating on a frozen lake in Derby in 1940. In Lincolnshire the focus is on Grantham where the VE Day celebrations were recorded in colour, while down in Leicestershire a Red Cross table sale was committed to film as were carnivals in Hinckley in 1938 and 1939.

The majority of this material was shot by amateurs on 16mm or standard 8mm film. Many caught the film-making bug before war broke out and although some collections only include material that was shot in the first years of the war, because of the difficulty of purchasing film stock, some were able to maintain a supply and footage remains from the entire 1939-1945 period. Most were shot on black and white stock but a surprisingly large amount is in colour. All bar the mayoral appeal from Birmingham is silent.

Click on the links to see and read more about war-time films from the Media Archive for Central England.

This description and the extracts from films held on this site are just tasters of what MACE holds from the Second World War period. Contact the archive to find out more.