Leicester Mercury – Jan 15, 2007

Rare film clips hit big screen by Tom Bennett

Rare footage of Leicestershire life is to be shown for the first time in decades this week. Researchers have spent six months putting together a series of short films, some of which have not been shown since they were first aired more than 60 years ago.

They include colour images of Hinckley carnival taken three months before the outbreak of the Second World War and footage of the annual Hallaton bottle-kicking festival from 1927.

The films also include a report about the first CCTV cameras installed in the UK as part of Leicester’s 1950s traffic control system.

The films, being shown under the name Midland Journey, were put together by Media Archive for Central England, of the University of Leicester.

Researcher Philip Leach said: ‘Some of these films have not been seen since they were first shown. We wanted to do a mixture of films from as far back as possible to today.’

‘It’s important to keep archive film programmes moving forwards, including the older footage as well as more recent film.’

Other films include Calling Blighty: Leicester, part of a government sponsored series made during the latter days of the Second World War.  It features service personnel based in the Far East sending messages home to their loved ones in the city.

The 1986 film Street Life: Braunstone is a hard-hitting and controversial look at life on the estate.

It attempts to show the reality of poverty in an area where Norman Tebbit was suggesting that people could get on their bikes and look for work.  Mr Leach said the Braunstone film for 1986 is quite hard-hitting stuff. There was high unemployment and not a lot of money. David Brennan, Chief executive of Braunstone Community Association, said: ‘ The footage would show how far the area had come since 1986.’

He said: ‘We haven’t seen the film but it’s going to be a stark contrast from the Braunstone of today. ‘It will be good to see the film as a reminder of the considerable amount of investment that has gone into the area.’ The screening is one of a series of similar events showing rarely seen archive films to audiences across the Midlands.  It takes place at Phoenix Arts in Newark Street in the city centre on Sunday January 21st.


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