Film and Audio from the Archives
·Each month we showcase a different piece of film or audio from the archives. You can view this month's film at Southwark's Local History Library and Archive…
Last updated 3 years ago
This film seeks to inform and educate the viewer about the Islamic faith and its places of worship in Southwark. It features all of the well-known and established Southwark mosques and includes interviews with imams, vicars, political and local government figures as well as the residents who use and live near them.
Close your eyes and immerse yourself in the soundscape of the bustling streets of Southwark while the late historian, Stephen Humphrey, educates you with details of the past. This radio documentary uses sounds recorded around the borough to place the listener into the thick of the action. As we delve into the soundscapes we learn along the way about the history of local heritage sites at Borough Market, Old London Bridge, Southwark Cathedral, children’s playgrounds and local Industries.
This film celebrates the history of Dulwich (specifically Dulwich Village) in the south of the borough of Southwark and is described as “…an oasis of quiet and calm”. The film explains why the area has developed differently to its surrounding areas and looks at the origins of its first name Dilwihs, first used in AD967.
Bermondsey Borough Council’s Health Department was progressive and radical in its approach to promoting good health. One of the ways it did this was through the medium of film. This film is directed towards women and begins in Southwark Park using costumes from different periods in history, demonstrating how restrictive they were, and ending with the promotion of the simple forward-looking dress of the 1920s.
This is one of the first films of the Carnaval del Pueblo, a regular and popular fixture on Southwark’s festival calendar. It features a procession along Walworth Road, showing off traditional costumes and dancers, followed by the main event in Burgess Park, featuring a host of musicians and singers including well known figures like Adalberto Santiago and Willie Colón. The video captures the spirit of the carnival with scenes of Southwark’s people dancing, eating and enjoying themselves.
‘Oppin was produced by the Bermondsey Borough Council Health Propaganda Department in 1930 and shot on 35mm film. It sets out to record the life of the hop pickers and the conditions under which they lived. We see families preparing for the annual hop, travelling by road to the Kentish farms, picking and assessing the hops and all the activity associated with this trade that was a staple holiday for working class families in Southwark during the 19th and early 20th Century.
What was ‘Nonsuch House’ and what does Arizona, USA, have in common with London Bridge? This film about the history of London’s first bridge answers these questions and more, beginning with the origins of the ‘Old’ bridge, which took 33 years to build from around 1176. The film includes some fascinating snippets of history like the purpose of the gate towers at either end of the old bridge, the story of the removal of Sir Thomas More’s head from the gate.
This film looks at the history of the Camberwell Resettlement Unit, which, over the course of 160 year gave temporary accommodation to more than a million homeless men. The hostel was started by the Sisters of Christian Retreat in 1848 and taken over by the Camberwell Board of Guardians in 1850 as an extension of its nearby workhouses. The ‘Spike’, as became known is thought to have been home briefly to George Orwell while he was writing Down and Out in Paris and London.
This month’s film shows Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh on a visit to Bermondsey and Rotherhithe as part of The Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. The Queen unveils a commemorative stone near Kings Stairs Gardens and is presented with a leather-bound book of prints of Southwark. There is also a Pageant depicting important periods in Southwark’s history.
This film, made by Cricks and Sharp in 1906 is one of the oldest surviving documentaries and the quality of the film is remarkable given its age. It shows us all the stages of biscuit production, from preparation to packing and distribution. James Peek and George Hender Frean built their first factory in Dockhead, Bermondsey in 1857. They moved to Clements Road in 1866, where the company remained until 1989. Peek Freans was one of the largest employers in the area until the mid-20th century.
This programme, first broadcast on the Discovery Home and Leisure Channel in 2001, looks at how Peckham library was built. Architect, Will Allsop, who reveals how the L-shape design was conceived and how the design helps create its own green air conditioning unit. We also hear from Hanif Kara, engineer, who talks about the dual purpose of concrete within the building and how the L-shape design defies gravity!
March 2017: The Cuming Museum’s Youth Panel made three short films in 2013 using the Local History Library and Archive’s film collection as inspiration. ‘Community Life’ and ‘Passport to the Future’ include interviews with local residents of all ages, giving their views on how Southwark has changed in terms of community and education. The final film is a handy guide to using the library and archive for the first time. #Southwark #Film #Archive
February 2017: This television programme, first broadcast on BBC television in 1999, looks at the history of Trinity Church Square, nestled quietly off Borough High Street. The programme investigates the origins of the name of the square and how the grand Georgian houses came to be built in this part of Southwark, a notorious area in the 18th and 19th centuries, and a stone’s throw from Kings Bench prison. A fascinating programme with some surprising facts. #Southwark #Film #Archive
January 2017: Audio interview where former Dulwich resident, Mr Kail, describes the rural character of Dulwich in 1905 with horse drawn vehicles and farms. A time when Dulwich Park had an aviary and there were donkey and goat-drawn carriages available on Eynella Road for children to ride. There are also reminiscences about the first trams from Camberwell to Forest Hill and the crowds that gathered near Dulwich Library for Halle’s Comet in 1910. (17mins) #Southwark #Archives #Audio
Featured Film: December 2016. This special party for retired residents of the Brandon Estate was recorded in 1965 by the local Cine Club. The décor is pure 1960s but the entertainment is in the Edwardian music hall style, conjuring up an era in which most of the guests spent their childhoods. #Southwark #Film #Archives
Featured Film: November 2016. A wonderfully nostalgic and important film made in 1964 by the BBC about post war London, south of the river. Featuring the areas of Bermondsey, Walworth and Peckham the film uses interviews and voice overs of the residents of different generations to give their views on how development with improved housing and rising living standards are changing the quality of life of the working classes. #Southwark #Film #Archives
Featured Audio: September 2016. During WWII Sheila Joint (née Stannard) joined the Dulwich ARP (Air Raid Precautions) aged 17 years old. In this 1986 interview she describes her duties such as making sure the blackout was observed and giving out books or sweets to children in the underground shelters. She recalls her time at James Allen’s Girls School, social events in Dulwich, and seeing out the Blitz at Pond House. #Southwark #Audio #Archives
Featured Film: August 2016. Clubland was a youth club that transformed the lives of young people in Walworth between the 1920s and the 1960s. It was the vision of one man, James Butterworth, who worked to raise funds for a purpose built facility that included workshops, an art room, a theatre, a gymnasium, and a rooftop playground. This rare film footage of youth club activities, shot on 16mm by the late James Butterworth’s wife, has not been seen since it was filmed. #Southwark #Film #Archives
Featured Audio: July 2016. Sam King MBE, former Mayor Southwark, was interviewed by Age Exchange on 23 March 1995. King discusses the history and culture of Jamaica and the British Empire, and recalls his personal experiences in Britain during the Second World War, as well as his return to the UK in 1948 on the SS Empire Windrush. #Southwark #Audio #Archives
Featured Film: June 2016. This rare short film shows an anti-fascist march from Bermondsey to Hyde Park organised before the outbreak of WWII. The people of Bermondsey were very pro-active in showing their support during the war - however, there was a great deal of opposition among the men and women of Bermondsey before the outbreak of the war and this film shows some of them demonstrating with their floats through the streets of London onto a rally in Hyde Park. #Southwark #Film #Archives
Featured film: May 2016. The remains of the Rose Theatre were discovered in 1988 following the demolition of an office block in Bankside. This film documents the project which followed to investigate the site. Presented by James Fox, it features Dustin Hoffman, Timothy Dalton, Vanessa Redgrave, Sir Peter Hall and Melvyn Bragg explaining the history and significance of the theatre as well as their concerns and wishes for the future. #Southwark #Film #Archives
Featured Film: April 2016. Four years in the making, this documentary about the huge skyscraper which dominates the London skyline looks at how the building was conceived, planned and constructed despite a massive protest against it. Featuring interviews with the man behind the building, Irvine Seller, as well as the engineers, developers and construction workers who all played their part in the building of the architectural feat that is, The Shard. #Southwark #Film #Archives