Homes For The People

Collection: London Screen Study Collection
ID No.: n/a
Title: Homes For The People
Date: 1945
Film-maker: Kay Mander
Colour: Black & White
Sound: Sound
Duration of complete item: 19 min.
Themes: Post-war Reconstruction


A documentary film looking at the problem of inadequate and run-down housing and urging the people of Britain to push for better conditions.


The film opens with drawings of nineteenth century slum housing and questions what has changed since in that time. Scenes from present day (1945) housing conditions follow. Several women are interviewed about their housing problems. Mrs Trasker of Holborn in London is interviewed about life in her flat. She says the space is inadequate for her family and it lacks basic necessities such as hot water. Mrs Pendlebury of Feltham, London, talks about the poor facilities in her home whilst washing clothes in a sink.

Moving to Derby, scenes of slum areas are shown and a Mrs Wilson is interviewed in her home about her family's living conditions. The film now moves to the rural location, of the village of Moreton Pinkney in Northamptonshire. There, Mrs Merriot describes describes the lack of water and sanitation facilities in the homes. Turning to the Welsh mining village of Pontygwaith, Mrs Collingbourne describes the lack of adequate facilities in her house

The film shows general views of city slums and bombed out buildings. Inside the home, scenes of domestic chores are shown whilst the commentary outlines the 'housewife's' point-of-view. Moving on, the film show's the interviewees newly built houses in the suburbs, these new homes have adequate space and modern facilities.

Bomb damaged housing is shown again to make the point that these houses need to be cleared to make way for modern new housing. Architects models and diagrams are used to show new housing and the resources required to build them.

The film goes on to show new building sites and a factory making new appliances for the home. The commentary then encourages people to take action to ensure that good new housing is built. The film suggests that people campaign for better conditions though their unions, local councils and MPs, and by voting for local councils that have ‘the interests of working people at heart’.


The film-maker Kay Mander worked in the industry from the 1930s until the 1990s . As a part of the British documentary film movement in the 1940s and 1950s, she was one of the few women film-makers of the period. She used the campaigning documentary format, seen in Homes for the People to highlight social inequality and to encourage people to take action to bring about reform.

This film was released at a time when housing problems were at a peak after the end of the war and the public were was seeking a new approach to social welfare, through better housing conditions, the new welfare state and the new National Health Service.

A fuller shotlisting of this film is available from the BFI film & television database and from Scottish Screen Archive database.

A biography of Kay Mander and further details on her films can be found at Screen Online.