This is a Matter Which Vitally Concerns You

Archive: Media Archive for Central England
ID No.: n/a
Title: This is a Matter Which Vitally Concerns You
Date: 1938
Film-maker: Birmingham City Council
Colour: Black & White
Sound: Sound
Duration of complete item: 4 min. 18 sec.
Themes: Pre-War Build-up; Civil Defence – Civilian Services


A public appeal by the Lord Mayor of Birmingham for civilian volunteers to become air raid wardens, fire fighters and medical staff.


Following the main title a caption appears: “An Appeal by the Lord Mayor Councillor E. R. Canning, J. P. to you to join the Air Raids Precautions Services for the city”. Councillor Canning sits behind a desk in an office and speaks directly to the camera. After thanking the Cinema Exhibitors Association he goes on to explain that the city council has the duty of administering the Act of Parliament (Air Raid Precautions Act 1937) for provisions to be made to protect persons and property in the event of hostile air attack. He adds that the new service will be purely civilian and that Birmingham is a special area in that there is every likelihood that if war broke out it would be one of the first parts of the country to be attacked. Councillor Canning divides the new service into three sectors: Air Wardens; the Auxiliary Fire Service; and the Medical Service. For each sector he gives figures for the number of volunteers required in Birmingham. The film ends with a caption asking volunteers to apply to The Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham.


The 35mm print of this film was donated to MACE as part of a larger collection from Birmingham Central Library.

From as early as 1935, local authorities had been charged with the responsibility of setting up Air Raid precautions in their area, to protect civilians in the event of a war. In 1937 services such as the Air Raid Wardens and the Auxiliary Fire Service were formally established and civilians were called upon to volunteer for such roles.

This film, which would have been shown in cinemas across Birmingham, was very much part of that recruitment drive.

This is a Matter Which Vitally Concerns You (1938)

This is a Matter Which Vitally Concerns You (1938)

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