Cat no. 95742

Luton '76

Running time26:07 Colour Sound 1976 Luton, Bedfordshire

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Documentary charting the progress and development of Luton in its official centenary year, from the dominance of the hat trade in the late nineteenth century, to the car manufacturing of the twentieth century.


DocumentaryPortrait of a PlaceTelevision

Panoramic shots of Luton show its industrial and urban development amidst rural Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. The 'Red Arrows' air display team fly past to mark the hundredth anniversary of Luton's first charter in 1876. But the commentary notes a lack of 'civic pride' over shots of the busy town centre.

Tony Hutt, an ex-councillor, bemoans the demolition of buildings 'central to the character of the town'. Brian Sedgemore, MP for Luton East, and Hedley Gore, Secretary Luton Chamber of Commerce, comment on the economic challenges facing Luton in 1976, illustrated by footage of car production lines.

A sequence of archive stills shows the Luton of 100 years ago; the whole town involved in the straw hat trade, and the bustling scenes in George Street. Ivor Clemitson, MP Luton West, speaks of the rapid growth between the 1930s and the 1970s and the consequent loss of the town's identity. Archive stills depict the Peace Parade of 1919 and the burnt out Town Hall after the rioting which followed.

New housing at various stages of construction and panoramic views of Luton, with its problematic layout, illustrate the interview with Tony Lines, ex-leader Luton Council. The Arndale Centre is featured in another interview with Ivor Clemitson. Alison Rudge describes her work with immigrant communties.

Commentary and local interviews follow in footage of Luton Airport, Marsh House Amenities on the Marsh Farm Estate, and the Stopsley Sports Centre.

Workers at Marida Hats Ltd use new methods and materials to construct new fashions. In the busy sewing room, many women are at their machines, although some are still sewing by hand.

Leisure activities are discussed at Caesar's Palace nightclub and Luton Town Football Club.

Concludes with events celebrating the Centenary: a real ale festival, a cycle race, and a Victorian fair with live stages in the centre of the town.

Featured People:

Ivor Clemitson MP; Tony Hutt; Brian Sedgemore MP; Hedley Gore, Secretary Luton Chamber of Commerce; Tony Lines; Alison Rudge, Community Relations Officer; Vivian Dunnington, Conservative Leader Luton Council; Mr Hyman of Marida Hats Ltd; Danny La Rue, entertainer; Harry Haslem, Manger Luton Town Football Club; Frank Stanley Lester, Mayor of Luton

Featured Organisations:

Luton Afro-Caribbean Centre; Marsh House Amenities

Featured Events:

Red Arrows Fly Past; Real Ale Festival; Cycle Race; Victorian Fair

Featured Buildings:

Electrolux; SKF, Chrysler; John Kent Ltd; Vauxhalls; Luton Town Hall - exterior and council chamber; Luton Old Town Hall (burnt out shell, 1919); Luton Hoo; Arndale Centre exterior and interior; Afro Caribbbean Organisation; Luton Airport - runway, check-in, control tower; Marsh House, Marsh Farm Estate; Stopsley Sports Centre; A.E. Olney - York Straw Hat Works (Luton); Marida Hat Factory; Caesar's Palace Night Club (Luton); Luton Town Football Club (interior on matchday)

Anglia Television

Harry Aldous

Peter Fuller; Ian Craig

Tony Sutcliffe

Michael O'Halloran

Paul Honeyman

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