England May Be Home

1957, Bedford (Bedfordshire)

An Italian working in England has to decide whether he should return home after the death of his father, or relocate his wife and child and make a home in England.

Drama documentary. The film records details of a large community of Italian immigrants, living in Bedford. Employed in the local brick works, the film focuses on the dilemma faced by one of the immigrant workers. Two years into a four year contract, the Italian worker, Gino, learns that his father has died, leaving his wife and son with no family in Italy. Gino is unsure whether to return to Italy or bring over his family. Gino, after asking advice from his friends, decides to leave the workers’ hostel in which he has been living, look for a house and make arrangements for his family to join him. The film concludes with the arrival of his wife and son in Bedford. Sequences include: labourers at work in the brick works; immigrant workers leaving the brick works in buses (for those living in town) and in lorries (for those living in the workers’ hostel); life in the hostel; a visit to meet other Italians in Bedford; a visit to the Kings Arms pub; life on Sunday, attending mass in the morning and a social dance later that day; a visit to talk to a friend’s wife (Bianca), who explains the problems she encountered with shopping; a montage of estate agent signs; the arrival of Gino's wife and the welcoming party. Shots include: Clay being extracted for the brick works and loaded onto a hopper; the hopper emptying its cargo at the Marston Valley Brick Works; machinery for producing bricks; a forklift truck taking bricks into the kilns and out of the kilns after firing; workers loading bricks onto a truck; workers collecting their pay; transportation of workers to their accommodation; washing facilities at the hostel and men hanging out laundry to dry on lines; an interior shot of living quarters in the hostel; a card game between Italian workers; Italian workers in the King’s Arms pub, with interior shot of the bar; a mass attended by the Italian workers and their families in a converted school dining room; an Italian social dance; Bianca shopping for groceries, in a small local store; an Italian girl sitting by herself, watching children play in the streets, and joining in after she has settled into her new surroundings; signs for local estate agents; the exterior of the Italian consulate in Bedford; Italian friends drinking Chianti and making toasts at the welcoming party. There are also shots of streets and houses in Bedford. The film has a voiceover soundtrack with guitar/ piano accordion music, playing Italian folk tunes.

Featured Buildings

[?] & Warwick, Alexandra Road The Kings Arms, St Mary's Street, Bedford [possibly] Agenzia Consolare D’Italia, Bedford


Brickworks; Dancing; Employment; Family Life; The Fifties; Housing; Immigrants; Italian communities in Britain; Italy; Migrant workers; Public houses; Shopping; Immigration; Shift work; Hostels; Leisure; Dancing; Estate Agents in Bedford

Other Places

Marston Valley, Bedfordshire

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