Planned towns

The Garden City movement began in the East of England region with Letchworth founded by Ebenezer Howard in 1903, and Welwyn Garden City. New Towns were established in the 1940s at Basildon, Harlow, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Peterborough, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City. To house the London overspill, Expanded Towns were established in the 1960s at Braintree, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Huntingdon, King’s Lynn, Long Melford, Mildenhall, Sandy, St Neots, Sudbury, Thetford and Witham.

Cat no. 2503

Planned Town

Running time11:29 Black & White Sound 1949 Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

Welwyn Garden City was founded in the 1920s by Sir Ebenezer Howard, and it became a New Town under the 1946 Act. This film looks at the principles which inspired this development.

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Cat no. 401

An Experiment in Towns

Running time20:56 Black & White Sound 1958 Harlow, Essex

A Central Office of Information film about the development of Harlow as a New Town under Sir Frederick Gibberd’s plan of 1947.

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Cat no. 304

The Story of Magdalen Street

Running time14:11 Colour Sound c.1960 Norwich, Norfolk

A record of the Civic Trust project to revitalise Magdalen Street and its historic buildings and introduce more harmonious lettering and colour schemes. This inspired other town improvement schemes, but the benefit in Norwich was short-lived as the street would be cut in two by the Inner Ring Road.

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Cat no. 830

Fore Street Improvement Scheme

Running time15:50 Colour Sound 1961 Ipswich, Suffolk

A street improvement scheme inspired by Magdalen Street, Norwich. The completed project at Fore Street was visited by the Queen.

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Cat no. 1185


Running time39:04 Colour Sound 1969 Haverhill, Suffolk

Subtitled ‘A Town Expanding’, this film presents the development of Haverhill as an ‘Expanded Town’ under the 1956 and 1962 planning review.

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Cat no. 6067

The Design of Space

Running time24:02 Colour Sound 1966

A film by Ransomes, lawnmower manufacturers, showing examples of landscape architecture in town developments across the country.

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Cat no. 253

A View of Bishopsfield

Running time16:55 Colour Sound 1969 Harlow, Essex

A film by Harlow Cine Club which captures the freshness of Harlow’s architecture while presenting a range of opinion from residents.

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