contemporary films

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We have a small but unique collection of material that includes footage from left-wing marches, meetings, demonstrations and rallies. Notable among these, with a soundtrack by Ewan McColl, is a 1951 film which shows thousands of Londoners taking part in their traditional May Day parades. There is also footage of the funeral in Golders Green in 1960 of Harry Pollitt, leader of the Communist Party of Great Britain, with Paul Robeson among the dignitaries present. Robeson also features in a film addressing an anti-nuclear rally in Trafalgar Square, alongside the film-maker Ivor Montagu.

There is some remarkable footage from the 1970s, documenting the traditional Eel and Pie Houses of the East End. And 1950s footage that illustrates old ditties and nursery rhymes like "Down The Old Kent Road" and "Daddy Wouldn't buy me a Bow-Wow", filmed in the streets around the East End of London.



There is footage too from the 1990s, which covers the Black experience in Britain. Included here is Ken Fero's seminal film on asylum seekers, Tasting Freedom.

Tasting Freedom

Britain's Black Legacy


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