Tag Archives: british council

LDVideo: From the archives – ‘How Members of Parliament Are Elected (1945)’

There now follows a public information film… During the 1940s, the British Council produced more than 120 short films ‘designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played’. They’re now available online, and here’s the Pathe-style feature on the 1945 electoral race in Kettering — or, as it’s described in the British Council Film Department Catalogue:

‘The film shows how the candidates, after completing the necessary formalities, plan their election campaigns with the help of their Agents and go round the district addressing the voters. What happens on Polling Day, how people vote, the precautions for secrecy, the counting of the votes and the declaration of the result are shown in detail. The film was made at Kettering in Northamptonshire during the 1945 election.’

The candidates featured are Labour’s Gilbert Mitchison, ‘Independent Christian’ John Dempsey and incumbent Conservative MP John Profumo, and it’s interesting to see the importance attached to public meetings, and the warnings — even after six years of war — of the danger of ‘apathy’.

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LDVideo: From the archives – ‘The Work of Local Authorities (1943)’

There now follows a public information film… During the 1940s, the British Council produced more than 120 short films ‘designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played’. They’re now available online, and here’s the wonderfully of-its-time feature on local government — or, as it’s described in the British Council Film Department Catalogue:

‘A simple description of English Local Government, showing the areas into which England is divided, the system of election and finance, and the many services administered by the local authorities.’

Hark back to a time when local authorities had power over all manner of local services — from public health and education, to the fire authorities and water boards — when councillors were invited to stand for election from every walk of life (“for instance, this businessman or even his wife”), and a little boy would utter the deadpan phrase “I’m going to be a councillor when I grow up, daddy”.

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