Britain on Film: Protest!
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At a time of intense public activism both at home and across the globe, explore the varied and fascinating history of public protest in the UK with our new archive film programme: Britain on Film: Protest!
From a 1910 suffragette demonstration to striking coal miners in the Rhondda Valley, from female CND protesters spanning the Tamar Bridge to the defeat of fascists at London’s Cable Street, this absorbing, illuminating collection examines the nature of protests large and small and for causes regional and national, by participants fighting for suffrage and democracy, against exploitation and inequality, for fair wages and worker’s rights, for public safety, freedom and community and in the face of war and oppression.
Sourced from the national and regional archives and newly digitised, Britain on Film: Protest! tells a story not just about specific protests and their causes, but about a tumultuous century, the constant presence of public dissent and its dynamic effects as a weapon of change – at a time when raising our voices feels more essential than ever.
Films in the programme
Demonstration of Suffragettes
Dir: unknown | UK | 1910
An early view of Emily Wilding Davison in the multitudes of women in a mass demonstration organised by the Women’s Social and Political Union on 18 June 1910.
Welsh Coal Mine Strike Scenes at Aberaman
Dir: unknown | UK | 1910
Scenes of industrial beauty, bleakness and jollity in Aberaman, in the Rhondda, South Wales.
Hands Off Baby's Milk
Dir: unknown | UK | 1916
High milk prices during World War I drive mother and child on to the street in protest.
Freedom of the Hills
Dir: unknown | UK | 1930
The hills of Derbyshire are alive with protesters fighting for the right to roam.
Fascists Defeated at Cable Street
Dir: unknown | UK | 1936
Newsreel record of the 1936 crushing defeat of the British Union of Fascists in East London.
'Tenants in Revolt'
Dir: John Sommerfield | UK | 1939
Cracking partisan portrait of the Stepney Tenants’ Defence League’s fight against rogue landlords in London’s East End.
Mayday March, Liverpool
Dir: unknown | UK | 1974
Trade unionists on the march in Liverpool and London.
Campaign to Organise the General Strike
Dir: Julie Hyland, Michael Banda | UK | 1984
Young Socialists take the lead in the struggle against the “Tory dictatorship” led by Margaret Thatcher.
Road Safety Protest
Dir: unknown | UK | 1967
Parent power blocks historic Watling Street as banners and placards bring traffic to a halt on the A5.
Building Workers Demonstration
Dir: unknown | UK | 1972
Thirty pounds for a thirty five hour week is their demand and the building workers of Birmingham have an unusual ally in their strike protest.
Keresley - A Village and a Strike
Dir: Julian Ware | UK | 1985
“Kiss me goodnight Arthur Scargill but Maggie you are no sister to me.” Keresley: a colliery and a pit village but, with a strike on, which side are you on?
Dir: unknown | UK | 1986
Two councils with two different approaches to LGBT rights: Harringay in North London is seen as leading the way Coventry lags behind.
H Block Hunger Strike
Dir: Chris Reeves | UK | 1980
An unflinching look at the experience of the 1980 H Block hunger strikers in Northern Ireland’s Maze (formerly Long Kesh) Prison.
CND Women's Protest
Dir: unknown | UK | 1983
An anti-nuclear demonstration by women from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament at Royal Devonport and on the Tamar Bridge.
Dir: Ross Devenish | UK | 1970
This Week investigates how racial tensions in Islington are being stoked by social pressures, and what residents are doing to improve the area.