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London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) is constantly adding new material to its Mediatheque service.

Below are details of the films that have been added most recently. Dating from the 1950s to the 1990s, the subjects range from London markets (including the financial markets within the Square Mile) to familiar landmarks such as Tower Bridge; and from home security in the 1950s, to comprehensive education, the London Fire Brigade and the problems of traffic and pollution in the 1970s; even the legacy of Geoffrey Chaucer gets a look in. If you are visiting LMA, please take some time to take a look at the full list of films available yourself at the Mediatheque terminals in the public rooms where you can also view the films. Alternatively, some of the films are openly accessible through the LMA YouTube Channel so why not take a look now?

New on Mediatheque

City of London: Meeting the Challenge

In this film, a photographer roams the streets of the City of London, taking pictures and seeing the sights of the Square Mile and all the areas run by the City of London Corporation for Londoners. Also shown is how the City of London operates as the leading European financial centre. The picture of an active and competitive market place is built up through a montage of crowded streets and City business signs. We hear the voices of experienced businessmen and women giving their views of what it is really like to work in the City and learn how the change of pace affects their lives and creates different problems and pressures. We learn about the City Corporation’s many functions as a local authority, and how it actively enhances and maintains the infrastructure which is so essential to the business City.

Date: 1990
Reference No: COL/AC/30/003
Collection: City of London

Port of London Health Authority

This film explores the work of a team of specialists employed by the Port of London Health Authority. Their job is to ensure that a high standard of health is maintained on and around the River Thames, in particular, by monitoring the different foods that come into the port by container ship, the animals on the docks, as well as the various inhabitants who live on the river.

Producer: Robin Douet; commentator: Frank Duncan.

Date: 1967
Reference No: COL/AC/31/015/B
Collection: City of London

Looking at London: Tower Bridge

This film explores Tower Bridge, with a detailed look at the engineering involved in its construction, as well as its engine room. It also describes how the bridge is used by ships featuring the journey of the "Baltic Sun" which has travelled from Poland to London, docking at Mark Brown's Wharf. Original footage is shown of the role played by the ship's first mate and the wharf's supervisor in checking the cargo before it is finally distributed to lighters, local warehouses or markets such as Smithfield. The film ends with a look at the roles carried out by people working in the docks and on the wharfs.

Date: 1968
Reference No: ILEA/VID/01/1014
Collection: ILEA

Other films in the Looking at London series include: River Journey; St. Paul’s; and London Bridge.

London Markets: Street Markets

This film explores street markets, discussing what their function is and how they differ in terms of wholesale and retail. In a broad overview of the different markets found within London, reference is made to Chapel Market, Clare Market, Scalding Alley, Gracechurch Market and Hungerford Market. Using contemporary film footage of Romford Market, the programme explores how street trading, once a family tradition, is now regulated by inspectors and licences from local authorities.

Date: 1971
Reference No: ILEA/VID/01/1803
Collection: ILEA

Other films in the London Markets series include: Leadenhall, Spitalfields and Billingsgate; Money Markets; and Merchants and City Companies.

Lock, Stock and Barrow

This film explores the redevelopment and relocation of Spitalfields Fruit and Vegetable Market, including a look at the history of the market, interviews with its traders and with members of the Development Group responsible for the redevelopment of the site after the removal of the market to its new site at Temple Mills.

Date: 1992
Reference No: COL/AC/30/015
Collection: City of London

Unfamiliar London: Fire Brigade

This film explores the London Fire Brigade, with opening footage of a call centre in Lambeth and the processes involved in a call out. A brief history of fire prevention in London, from its early beginnings in 1707, is given including the involvement of insurance companies, the development of dedicated fire teams and the work of Captain Eyre Massey Shaw. In particular, the cultural and historical significance of Shaw is highlighted with a look round Winchester House and an interview with a member of the modern day (1970s) fire service. A re-enactment using horse-drawn fire appliances is shown, with a further look at changing technologies in fire equipment and the reverence Victorian society afforded the fire service.

Date: 1974
Reference No: ILEA/VID/01/2639R
Collection: ILEA

Other films in the Unfamiliar London series include: Open Spaces.

London Showcase: Chaucer

This film explores the development of English language since the Medieval period and how Geoffrey Chaucer's original works are still relevant to the modern reader. With the use of illustrations from old manuscripts and extracts from the Canterbury Tales, the life of Chaucer is revealed. The role of a scribe, how vellum was prepared, how to make a quill pen and how manuscripts were decorated with gold leaf and other illustrative designs are all explored. To end, an introduction to printing and its history is given, including a filmed visit to a London-based printing museum.

Date: 1972
Reference No: ILEA/VID/01/2380
Collection: ILEA

Cities: Traffic and Pollution

This film explores the problems that face a city, including traffic congestion, pollution, water supply and rubbish disposal. Noise pollution is examined first, with a look at the varying degrees of noise created within a city, how it affects the body and how it is measured. Traffic issues are then covered using footage of Routemasters, cars and other forms of transport on London streets. In particular, mention is given to the New York blackout of 1965 and potential hazards of electricity-powered travel. How much water is used and where it comes from is illustrated using a film provided by the Metropolitan Water Board. The problems experienced in Rome and Naples are explored as well as the consequences of not treating water properly and disposing of sewage directly into rivers. To end, how these problems have been solved is examined, with a look at sewers and water treatment/purification sites.

Date: 1973
Reference No: ILEA/VID/01/2599
Collection: ILEA

Other films in the Cities series include: Local Communities; and Town Planning and Development.

Two Schools

This film looks at two racially and culturally mixed ILEA comprehensive schools in north and south London. The main emphasis is the classroom, where mixed ability teaching is shown. References are made to the difficulties of school life such as truancy, discipline and staff shortages. An introduction to the range of sixth form options is provided and a group of sixth formers are shown discussing university entrance requirements with their tutor. Some aspects of remedial education are also demonstrated. Disciplinary problems are discussed by staff and the film ends with sixth formers discussing discipline in a liberal studies group.

Filmed at Southfields School and Hampstead School.

Date: 1974
Reference No: ILEA/CL/ER/11/011/001
Collection: ILEA

Telling Friends: A Difference Story

This film was originally intended to be used as part of a structured course of personal and social education within secondary schools, to enable discussions about homosexuality to take place in an open and unthreatening way. It focuses on a group of young people who have identified themselves as lesbian or gay and who consider some of the feelings of prejudice they encounter.

Produced and directed by Sandy Andrews.

Date: 1987
Reference No: ILEA/VID/05/03/013
Collection: ILEA

Burglary in the Home: Chubb

This film is a collection of cinema advertisements for Chubb Southampton, including four different commercials about burglaries and keeping your valuables safe from burglars.

Date: 1953
Reference No: CLC/B/002/07/01/05/002/A
Collection: Chubb

Other Chubb films include Keeping Things Safe

Films added in Autumn 2012

GLC/DG/PRB/11/032/001 Living in Thamesmead (1973)

This film is a semi-fictional account of a couple who live on the Thamesmead estate. It shows the architecture and landscaping of Thamesmead as well as the everyday lives of the residents, including sequences showing social activities, sporting events, educational and health facilities.

It stars Julie Dawn Cole and Spencer Banks as the young couple.​

GLC/DG/PRB/11/30 City at Risk (1981)

This film features all the major building stages of the Thames Flood Barrier, both on and off site, between 1975 and 1980. It also takes a look at the South East of England and how it has been affected by flooding in recent years. In particular, footage is shown of the floods that occurred during the 1950s.

ILEA/VID/01/1631 London Past and Present – Schools (1970)

The film looks at a number of schools across London including Peckham Park School and Hortensia Road School (Chelsea), as well as giving a brief history of the London School Board and the Education Act of 1870.

It features children from Peckham Park School preparing for a play they will perform later about life in a Victorian school. An old pupil of Peckham Park School is interviewed to share his memories of Victorian school life, especially punishment and school dinners. Different types of information on school life, and the ways to gather it, are then explored including the records held by the Headmaster at Peckham Park School.

GLC/DG/PRB/11/23/05 Your Move Next (1969)

This film explores the movement of London residents out to the newly built expansion suburbs of Greater London. In particular, it illustrates the facilities available and advantages offered to families and industry moving out of Central London.

ILEA/VID/01/2100 London People and Places – Prince Albert (1971)

This film examines the influence of Prince Albert on the cultural expansion of London during the 19th century. With a narrator to introduce different scenes, a variety of key moments in Albert's life are re-enacted by actors. The introduction of the Christmas Tree in England, Albert's induction into the Royal College of Arts and finally, the Great Exhibition of 1851 are all explored.

ILEA/VID/01/2133 London People and Places – Florence Nightingale (1972)

This film explores the impact of Florence Nightingale on the Crimean War and the nursing profession. Particular reference is made to why Florence Nightingale was sent out to the Crimea, the plight of its soldiers, the significant improvements to the standard of health and cleanliness made at the Hospital Scutari and the changes implemented on her return to London at St. Thomas' Hospital.

The legacy of Florence Nightingale is then examined through the eyes of a nurse who currently works at St. Thomas' Hospital and who describes the significance of Florence Nightingale's role in developing nursing as a profession. Footage of the redevelopment of St. Thomas' and its replacement by a more modern building is shown, as is a look inside the hospital at the children's ward.

ILEA/VID/01/2673 Unfamiliar London – Nearer to God (1973)

This film explores the Victorian enthusiasm for Christianity, how it influenced education and was adopted throughout the Commonwealth. In particular, it focuses on the poor areas of London during the late 19th century and religious schools built out of a desire to educate young children about God. New churches and missions also began to appear across London with the intent of recapturing the Mediaeval skyline. Examples of Gothic architecture include St. Peter, Hammersmith and St. Michael, Stockwell.

The work of Reverend Charles Spurgeon, in and around Elephant and Castle, and the role William Booth played in the development of the Salvation Army also feature.

ILEA/VID/01/2727 Unfamiliar London – Music Halls (1974)

This film explores Victorian music halls still around in the 1970s including those owned by Charles Morton (Canterbury Hall, Lambeth), Sam Collins (Irish entertainer/Sam Collins Music Hall) and John Wilton (John Wilton Music Hall).