More from our archives: http://film.britishcouncil.org/british-council-film-collection
The British Council Film Collection is an archive of more than 120 short documentary films made by the British Council during the 1940s designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played. Preserved by the BFI National Film Archive and digitised by means of a generous donation by Google, the films are now yours to view, to download and to play with for the first time.Chronicling London during the midst of World War II, the film illustrates an essential re-structuring of British society in response to the pressures inflicted upon it.
As much loved landmarks were destroyed and uncertainty engulfed the capital, rather than losing spirit Britain pulled tighter together, turning urban basements into inner-city pig farms to ease the problems of food shortage, and transforming disused roof-top spaces into allotments for growing vegetables and flowers.
All notions of class-related entertainment and social etiquettes were usurped, instead favouring a communal lifting of mood achieved through innovative community schemes including bringing theatre shows into factory canteens and standardizing food prices in the eateries around the city.
As the film claims, even the ordinary citizen was willing to do their bit in order to secure a world 'free from want and fear'.
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London 1942 (1943)