Cat no. 402

Panorama: Panorama - Harlow

Running time~16:17 Black & White Sound 1960s Harlow, Essex

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A look at life in Harlow, the new town, including interviews with residents.



The film opens with silent shots of Harlow New Town, showing its streets and shopping centres. Woodrow Wyatt interviews Sir Richard Costain, Chairman of the Harlow Development Corporation. He cites the cycle tracks as one of the prime features of Harlow. There are shots of these. He says that there are 40 firms of architects at work in Harlow, each designing between 400 and 600 houses. They have a great deal of artistic freedom. He hopes that this will result in many different styles of architecture in the new town. He lists a number of advantages that he considers makes Harlow an attractive proposition to industrialists. Labour is available, workers have easy access to factories and there has been an increase in output. He advocates Harlow as a good investment proposition; the Harlow Development Corporation has been showing a profit since 1958.

The film shows building in progress and some completed building before interviewing workers in Harlow. Most of them have come from London, one from near London Bridge. Whilst the workers have a few complaints, mainly about lack of places to go in the evenings (they miss cinemas in particular) they are all pleased that they came to Harlow. They have better living conditions and their children are doing well. Some express concerns about the future; will there be jobs available for young people as they grow up.Woodrow Wyatt moves to the Stow Health Centre where he interviews women at the mother and baby clinic and then a doctor. The women think that their children have a better chance of a good life in Harlow. One, from Forest Gate, contrasts her living conditions. In London, he family were living in one room; in Harlow they have a house. The doctor expresses an opinion that children are better clothed in Harlow. Standards, he says, are higher and matter more to people.

There are some rural shots, contrasting Old and New Harlow and then Woodrow Wyatt interviews Ben Hyde-Harvey, the General Manager of Harlow. He talks of the varied properties available in Harlow and quotes typical rents. He agrees that there is a need to achieve a balance of income levels. 10% of Harlow householders are young professionals. He admits that if Harlow becomes little more than a suburb then the Harlow Development Corporation will have failed.In the shopping centre Woodrow Wyatt interviews visitors to Harlow. One visitor, a wages' clerk from Peckham, is very keen to move to Harlow. Mr. Hyde-Harvey gives him advice on how to do so. If he finds a job, the house will be found for him.

There are further shots of buildings in Harlow, of schools, shops and flats. Gardens of houses feature and sculptures that have been placed in public areas. A number of public houses are filmed, including The Small Copper, The Heart and Club, The Essex Skipper and The White Admiral. The licensee of the White Admiral expresses the opinion that the people of Harlow have less money to spend on beer. They are mainly young people with new homes and families and these swallow up their income.The Vicar of St. Mary's highlights the imbalance of generations in Harlow. He conducts many christenings, a few weddings and practically no funerals. He thinks that there are over 200 various clubs and societies in Harlow. Most people see Harlow as a community. Mr. Easteal, the Chairman of Harlow Urban District Council cites poll figures for local elections of over 50%; residents feel that there is a community. A group of women residents is interviewed in the shopping centre. They have three main complaints; no cinemas, no large department stores and, owing to the imbalance in the age of the population, it is very difficult to get baby-sitters!

Featured People:

Woodrow Wyatt, reporter; Sir Richard Costain, Chairman, Harlow Development Corporation; Mr. Ben Hyde-Harvey, General Manager, Harlow Development Corporation; Mr. G.L. Easteal, Chairman, Harlow Urban District Council; The Vicar of St. Mary's

Featured Organisations:

Harlow Development Corporation; Harlow Urban District Council

Featured Buildings:

Stow Health Centre; The Small Copper; The Heart and Club Public Houses Harlow New Town; The Essex Skipper; The White Admiral


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