Distribution

New Towns, Our Town

Dir: Various

UK

2019

77 mins

U

Play Dates

  • Show All
  • London
  • Midlands
  • South East
  • South West

Barbican Centre

03/09/2019

- 03/09/2019

City of London,

London

Belford Community Cinema

18/09/2019

- 18/09/2019

Waren Mill, Belford

Broadway Cinema

19/07/2019

- 25/07/2019

Nottingham

Crawley Civic Hall

09/05/2019

- 09/05/2019

(Preview Screening)

Crawley

Crawley Museums CIO

31/03/2020

- 31/03/2020

Crawley

Films at Shadforth

07/07/2019

- 07/07/2019

Shadforth

Harlow Playhouse

16/05/2019

- 16/05/2019

(Preview Screening)

Harlow

Harlow U3A

27/01/2020

- 27/01/2020

Harlow

Larchwood Care

10/08/2019

- 10/08/2019

Basildon

MK Gallery

24/05/2019

- 24/05/2019

Milton Keynes

Number 8 Community and Arts Centre

22/10/2019

- 22/10/2019

Pershore

Orchard Lea Residents Association

19/07/2019

- 19/07/2019

Sawbridgeworth

Saffron Screen

14/08/2019

- 14/08/2019

Saffron Walden

Stevenage Community Arts Centre

07/05/2019

- 07/05/2019

(Preview Screening)

Stevenage

Thatcham Town Council

13/10/2019

- 13/10/2019

Thatcham

The Apsley Paper Trail

30/05/2019

- 30/05/2019

Hemel Hempstead

The Apsley Paper Trail

29/05/2019

- 29/05/2019

Hemel Hempstead

The Cinema at Campus West

10/01/2020

- 16/01/2020

Welwyn Garden City

The Old Town Hall

15/05/2019

- 15/05/2019

(Preview Screening)

Hemel Hempstead

Watershed

25/07/2019

- 25/07/2019

Bristol

Watershed

17/10/2019

- 17/10/2019

Bristol

Barbican Centre

03/09/2019

- 03/09/2019

City of London,

London

Belford Community Cinema

18/09/2019

- 18/09/2019

Waren Mill, Belford

Crawley Civic Hall

09/05/2019

- 09/05/2019

(Preview Screening)

Crawley

Crawley Museums CIO

31/03/2020

- 31/03/2020

Crawley

Films at Shadforth

07/07/2019

- 07/07/2019

Shadforth

Harlow Playhouse

16/05/2019

- 16/05/2019

(Preview Screening)

Harlow

Harlow U3A

27/01/2020

- 27/01/2020

Harlow

Larchwood Care

10/08/2019

- 10/08/2019

Basildon

MK Gallery

24/05/2019

- 24/05/2019

Milton Keynes

Number 8 Community and Arts Centre

22/10/2019

- 22/10/2019

Pershore

Orchard Lea Residents Association

19/07/2019

- 19/07/2019

Sawbridgeworth

Stevenage Community Arts Centre

07/05/2019

- 07/05/2019

(Preview Screening)

Stevenage

Thatcham Town Council

13/10/2019

- 13/10/2019

Thatcham

The Apsley Paper Trail

30/05/2019

- 30/05/2019

Hemel Hempstead

The Apsley Paper Trail

29/05/2019

- 29/05/2019

Hemel Hempstead

The Old Town Hall

15/05/2019

- 15/05/2019

(Preview Screening)

Hemel Hempstead

Broadway Cinema

19/07/2019

- 25/07/2019

Nottingham

Saffron Screen

14/08/2019

- 14/08/2019

Saffron Walden

The Cinema at Campus West

10/01/2020

- 16/01/2020

Welwyn Garden City

Watershed

25/07/2019

- 25/07/2019

Bristol

Watershed

17/10/2019

- 17/10/2019

Bristol

Join ‘Our film releases’ mailing list to stay up to date on upcoming ‘New Towns, Our Town’ screenings

The New Towns movement is one of the South East’s most significant shared stories, with a legacy and an impact that are still felt and discussed today. In the 73 years since the first New Towns Act was passed by the post-war government, the towns it created have been both praised as modern-day utopias and dismissed as failed social experiments.

Featuring glimpses of the original rural landscapes before they were transformed for new arrivals from a London devastated by the Blitz, this collection of rare archive films sheds light on the experiences of the Towns’ early pioneers as well as following generations. Promotional films by the Development Corporations that oversaw construction, television documentaries from the UK and beyond, as well as amateur footage from residents themselves, reveal how these ground-breaking towns have been continually reshaped in and by the public imagination.

With the UK’s ongoing housing crisis, the lessons of the New Towns are once again at the forefront of social and political debates and this valuable programme gives audiences a chance to reflect on their legacy; distinguishing the long-perpetuated myths of bleak architecture and endless roundabouts from the reality of the people and communities who call them home.

Part of Film Hub South East’s New Towns, Our Town – Stories on Screen, an innovative film project seeking to increase the visibility of the New Town movement and to celebrate the unique social history and heritage of these pioneering towns.

Play Dates

Booking Information

Telephone:
0207 636 7120

Email:
bookings@independentcinemaoffice.org.uk

Available Formats

DCP, Blu-ray & DVD

Distributor

Independent Cinema Office (ICO)

Terms

Cinemas and theatres - 35% / £100 MG (plus DCP transport costs) | Community cinemas, film clubs, film societies – 35% / £50 MG | Community groups and membership organisations - £20

Films in the programme

Crawley Events

Dir: Percy Nightingale | UK | 1928-37 | 4 mins

Twenty years before being designated as one of the UK’s first New Towns, amateur film-makers capture community-centred events in 1920s Crawley, including the Crawley Fair and the Church Parade. Later footage from 1937 shows the town’s jubilant celebrations for King George VI’s coronation.

Planned Town

Dir: Sean Graham | UK | 1949 | 3 mins

Ebenezer Howard’s book ‘Garden Cities of To-morrow’ offered a vision of people enjoying the opportunities of the city along with the beauty and fresh air of the countryside. The book gave rise to the Garden City movement which preceded the first New Towns Act in 1946. Welwyn Garden City was the second of these Garden Cities, before itself being designated a New Town in 1948.

An Experiment in Towns

Dir: John Reeve | UK | 1958 | 6 mins

Drawing comparisons with the transformation of the rural landscape by the industrial revolution, this film charts the history of the New Towns as a solution to the dual problems of relieving urban congestion and providing homes for those who lost theirs in the Blitz.

Postscript to Empire: Britain in Transition

Dir: Michael Alexander | US | 1962 | 3 mins

The rapid development of these new social utopias to solve the post-war housing crisis is called into question by existing residents. The reaction of this farming family outside Stevenage reflects similar complaints and objections from the old neighbours of other New Towns.

Home of Your Own

Dir: unknown | UK | 1951 | 12 mins

Two years after the first newcomers arrived, Hemel Hempstead Development Corporation commissioned this short fictional film to promote the town to people looking to move out of London and start a whole new life. Famous character actor Harry Lock stars as a bricklayer who passes through Hemel Hempstead by chance and is taken with the whole idea. He returns home to persuade his wife…

 

Transatlantic Teleview: New Towns in Britain

Dir: unknown | UK | 1956 | 11 mins

The ambition of the New Towns project attracted international attention, demonstrated by this insider’s guide to 1950s Harlow made for US audiences.

Hemel Homestead

Dir: unknown | UK | 1957 | 7 mins

Moving home is never easy, but relocating a whole company and its employees from post-war London to the state-backed ‘New Town’ redevelopment of Hemel Hempstead is daunting for all involved. This film, produced by the industrial shelving company Dexion, seeks to assure its staff that a new life for their families outside London is a step into a modern age.

Views of Hatfield

Dir: unknown | UK | 1952 | 2 mins

Shot over the second half of 1952, this film provides a visual record of life in the Hertfordshire town of Hatfield in the early 1950s including the heaving swimming pool and the delivery and assembly of pre-fabricated housing.

Stevenage: the First New Town

Dir: Gordon Ruttan | UK | 1974 | 6 mins

This film, commissioned by the Stevenage Development Corporation, takes an optimistic look at life in the original new town as citizens extol the town’s virtues as a great place to raise children and care for the elderly.

Basildon – Our Town

Dir: unknown | UK | 1974 | 5 mins

Made by local residents themselves, this film reflects on the modern success story of Basildon New Town, featuring amenities that would rival those left behind in London while benefiting from all this country-style living has to offer.

Peterborough, a City Fit to Live In

Dir: David C. Kenten | UK | 1971 | 6 mins

The third and last wave of new towns allowed for additional growth. In 1967 Peterborough Development Corporation was formed in partnership with the city and county councils to house London’s overspill population in new townships sited around the existing urban area. But will it make Peterborough a ‘better place’?

Milton Keynes – A Village City

Dir: unknown | UK | 1971 | 6 mins

“The most exciting thing going on in Europe, if not the world”: welcome to Milton Keynes circa 1973 as town planners earnestly trumpet the logic and ambition behind the largest, and arguably the most famous, of the New Towns.

Changing Places: Nearly New Town

Dir: unknown | UK | 1982 | 6mins

Thirty-five years after its designation as a New Town, Harlow’s residents reflect on its success as a ‘town of the future’ while architect-planner Frederick Gibberd laments the complications and barriers that prevented him from fully-realising his vision.

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