Cat no. 6569

The New Councillor

Running time19:04 Black & White Sound 1950 Luton, Bedfordshire

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A dramatisation of the election of a new borough councillor: how he gains experience through his relationship with the leaders of the council, and with the people who elected him.

Genre:

DocumentaryPoliticsPublic Information Film

The progress of a new young councillor is followed by a local reporter, from his election, through his introduction to the work involved and as he tries to dispel the cynicism which surrounds local politics. The narrative brings the new, middle-class councillor into direct contact with the realities of working-class lives, especially over issues such as health and housing. Problems concerning schools, industrial expansion and town planning are also emphasised in his relationship with the council officials. There is documentary footage of election vote-counting, council meetings, urban slum housing, poorly maintained streets, play areas in parks, and rubbish disposal.

Background Information:

The induction of new councillors still poses the challenges today as was the case 60 years ago. In a post dated 2 November 2010, offering the purchase of learning modules to newly elected councils, the government website records:
"Hundreds of newly elected councillors are sworn in each year. They take on responsibility for the wellbeing of their communities and the spending of millions of pounds of public money on local services. For many it is an overwhelming experience." (from www.idea.gov.uk).

Similarly, "The New Councillor" highlights the challenges in urban post-war Britain for local government, but also implies a need to motivate the population to take a fresh interest in local politics.

In its excellent history of the Crown Film Unit, the BFI's Screenonline website (www.screenonline.org.uk) sums up the era of the Crown Film Unit which came to an end in 1952: "Other work focussed on the postwar era's own 'home front', with many films.... capturing the progress of reconstruction or promoting new public services."

For more information about the COI (Central Office of Information) and Public Information Films, visit:
http://coi.gov.uk
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/films/
"The New Councillor" was not one of the films selected for exhibition on-line by The National Archives.

Notes:

The location for the film has been identified by exterior shots of Town Hall, interior shots of council chamber, a bus with 'Central Library' destination, and a park sign with the 'Lut' of Luton carefully obscured by some mud or dirt. There is also reference to the importance of the development of a local airport in the script.

Featured Buildings:

Luton Town Hall

Crown Film Unit

Ministry of Health

Cast:

Ross Hector Fred Richards
Eric Maturin Town Clerk
Wallas Eaton Reporter
Grace Arnold Mrs. Richards

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