An Experiment in Towns

1958 , Harlow (Essex)

The history of settlement, from Industrialisation through to the development of Harlow a new town.

This film begins with a long sequence that charts the history of settlement. It begins showing farms and early machines such as watermills and windmills. The story continues through the industrial revolution, where the film shows factories, steam pumps and trains. It concludes at the immediate pre-war period where the population of London had risen to 8,635,000 and urban overcrowding and congestion had became a major political issue. An animated map sequence shows the growth of London. There are brief shots of other leading world cities to show that the problem was not confined to London; Paris, Rome, New York and another unnamed oriental city that could be Hong Kong. The film continues charting the history of the new town development from the report of the Royal Commission in 1940. When work started on the new towns in 1946, this had become a duel problem of relieving urban congestion and providing homes for victims of the blitz. Actors offer arguments against the new town programme. There is an aerial view of a scale model of Harlow before showing the building work. Different types of homes are shown. An idea of Harlow in the early years is conveyed by the sight of a woman pushing a pram through a building site. Harlow New Town is contrasted with Harlow Old Town. Church and community halls are shown. These include children entering the church hall of St. Andrew's Methodist Church. Interior views show a playgroup session. People attend a Christening in the new RC Church of Our Lady of Fatima and a wedding at the Parish Church in Harlow Old Town. Modern factories feature. There are interior shots at the Stow Health Centre, showing the surgery, waiting room and dentist. The doctor pays a home visit to the first baby born in Harlow (now about ten years old). This shows interior views of a home in the New Town. The film shows the shopping facilities in Harlow, the market and pubs, including The Small Copper, and restaurants. Other leisure pursuits featured are children playing in a recreation ground, a ballet class at Stone Cross Hall, a family relaxing in their garden as well as some of the evening classes available. These included ballroom dancing, drama, fencing and a pottery class. The final sequence is not shot in Harlow but in a new town development in Wales. This shows the interior of a large school, shots of a factory making jet engines, a plane flying and finally views of the New Town.

Featured Buildings

St. Andrew's Methodist Church; The RC Church of Our Lady of Fatima; The Stow Health Centre, Harlow New Town; Stone Cross Hall; The Small Copper Public House; The Church of St. Mary The Virgin, Harlow Old Town

Featured Events

An Experiment In Towns.

Keywords

Factories; Housing; Industrialisation; Town and country planning

Other Places

New York; London; Rome

  • Camera : Alan Harrison

  • Animator : Eagle Studio

  • Production company : A Rayant Picture

  • Sponsor : Central Office of Information

  • Director : John Reeve

  • Producer : Anthony Gilkison

  • Commentator : Valentine Dyall

Manifestations

An Experiment in Towns

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    INV363481
    Canonical Title
    Unknown
    Carrier Type
    MP4 H264 digital
    Dimension
    Duration
    0:20:54
    Modification Date
    27/09/2011
    Parts
    Reference
    730099
  • Barcode
    INV379279
    Canonical Title
    Unknown
    Carrier Type
    MP4 H264 digital
    Dimension
    Duration
    0:20:54
    Modification Date
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    Parts
    Reference
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    Canonical Title
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    Carrier Type
    MP4 H264 digital
    Dimension
    Duration
    0:20:54
    Modification Date
    31/08/2011
    Parts
    Reference
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  • Activities
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    INV360799
    Canonical Title
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    Carrier Type
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    Dimension
    Duration
    0:20:54
    Modification Date
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    Parts
    Reference
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  • Activities
    Barcode
    INV297398
    Canonical Title
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    Carrier Type
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    Modification Date
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    Parts
    Reference
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  • Activities
    Barcode
    INV181874
    Canonical Identifier
    TB 903
    Canonical Title
    Unknown
    Carrier Type
    Umatic tape
    Dimension
    Identifier
    Modification Date
    28/07/2008
    Parts
    Reference
    674080
  • Activities
    Barcode
    INV160138
    Canonical Identifier
    TB 577
    Canonical Title
    Unknown
    Carrier Type
    Umatic tape
    Dimension
    Identifier
    Modification Date
    23/07/2008
    Parts
    Reference
    673562
  • Activities
    Barcode
    INV181186
    Canonical Identifier
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    Canonical Title
    Unknown
    Carrier Type
    Umatic tape
    Dimension
    Identifier
    Modification Date
    23/07/2008
    Parts
    Reference
    673500
  • Activities
    Barcode
    INV152368
    Canonical Identifier
    TB 148
    Canonical Title
    Unknown
    Carrier Type
    Umatic tape
    Dimension
    Identifier
    Modification Date
    22/07/2008
    Parts
    Reference
    672978
  • Barcode
    INV??1887
    Canonical Identifier
    VP-1110
    Canonical Title
    Unknown
    Identifier
    Modification Date
    25/06/2021
    Parts
    Reference
    563066
  • Activities
    Barcode
    INV251572
    Canonical Identifier
    A-105
    Canonical Title
    Unknown
    Carrier Details
    Carrier Type
    16mm film
    Colour System
    bw
    Colour Type
    bw
    Dimension
    Has Image
    Y
    Has Sound
    Y
    Identification Notes
    Neg / Pos Type (data migration 25/06/2021): POS
    Identifier
    Image Polarity
    positive
    Modification Date
    25/06/2021
    Parts
    Reference
    561041
    Sound
    sound

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