Film: 3461

Social History | 1970 | Sound | B/W

Clip:

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Synopsis:

[NB although film is dated 1971, it feels entirely '60s]

Title - handpainted on a brick wall.

Zoom out from a gasometer viewed over spiked railings. Tower blocks and medium-rise blocks in unfashionable Notting Hill - England's most overcrowded space, 'a stagnating pool of urban poverty'. Brick-fronted flat blocks, cars in foreground. Low brick walls and steps to front doors in older street. Back yards with lines of washing. Bay-windowed street properties. Pan looking down on back yards, a woman hanging out her washing; density is 232 to the acre, in this area in Golborne.

Close shot of a chimney flue. Ground level pan across rubbish and rubble on vacant lot - where children play. Older street with iron railings in front of houses, a ladder propped against one. View down street towards billboard with Walker's ad, a removal van at left, a sign fixed to one house saying 'Sold by Callaway'. A terrace, one house with scaffolding at front. A street terrace of larger houses with columned entrances. The foot of a couple of these houses. The columns.

Crowded flat blocks in front of the gasometer, heavy traffic in foreground. A street with cars parked at right, one partially on pavement, men apparently working on it; children on pavement, some walking towards us; children play where they are; pan over car roofs, past Morris Minor (reg. EGR 240) to other children playing on pavement opposite, some of whom are black; one child has a small bicycle; in the northern part of the borough of Kensington and Chelsea there are 16,000 children under the age of 16. Black boys playing football in the street. The boys playing, viewed from waist down, the camera following the ball. A young white boy squeezes between bent railings; he carries a tub of ?ice-cream. Viewed through railings, a white boy runs to join another in the street.

A black boy, crouched down, hammers on the tarmac, a bicycle lying beside him. A young girl in a pony tail slowly pushes a push-chair past a broken wall; a van behind has EUSton phone number on the side. Two girls, of about 5 and 7, play on the pavement, one apparently hopping over small pebbles. Four girls playing and stretching their legs in the street are joined by a small boy in shorts. Looking down a street from second floor window; kerbs are lined with parked cars, vans and lorries; numerous children play on the pavement. Looking the other way, a group of three children are seen to approach a lorry, a girl on a bicycle looking on at left.

Ground level view up a street of parked cars - nearest is reg 295 CWB - towards two small black children playing with a football on the pavement; a bigger child takes the ball from them, and runs off left; traffic passes. Viewed over iron spiked railings, a child walks over rubble on a bomb site. Several children playing on the rubble; an older girl stands reading a comic. A small bicycle lying on its side. Children on the bomb site - two approach us. A small boy climbs over the railings; behind is the van saying '… and Partner …mited …NDON'; other children climb the railings.

Looking towards distant buildings, a woman walks off left past a corner with a pile of lumber in front of a large dark, doorless, entrance to a building; behind her a boy pedals a tricycle; zoom on him, and pan to follow him leftwards. In front of a high brick wall, three young white boys run towards us, the foremost carrying a galvanized coal scuttle; they stop, and attempt to climb the wall, one trying to stand on the coal scuttle. Close-up of the backs of two of the boys' heads; voiceover is describing boredom and lack of constructive play options. Back view of the two boys looking up the street; a car approaches. Children playing, seen through wire-mesh fence. Closer shot of the children playing, on what looks like an adventure playground.

Overview and pan over a playground in front of a large school building; various roundabouts etc., including 'witch's hat'; parents seated on benches at right; pan round to rudimentary adventure playground area with play leaders, provided by the council. Seen through railings, the sign for 'The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Barley Road Children's Playground'. A flat-surfaced playground with white pitch-markings, trees at rear; a lawnmower at left. Two children swinging back and forth. Closer shot of girl swinging towards us, her skirt blowing up. A boy swinging sideways, kicking off the supports.

Close shot of sign giving orders for playground users; pan over sports pitch, showing wheelbarrow and lawnmower in foreground, then to distant swings. Close shot of park flower bed. Close shot of 'Keep off the Grass' sign, over immaculate lawn. A park bench. Pitch markings. Another pitch marking. A roundabout turning slowly in medium shot, two children lying on it. Two children seated on a stationary roundabout; zoom on one boy peeling a stick. Close-up of his hands peeling the stick. Three frame-type toddlers' swings swinging, but empty.

A group of children grasping the heavy railings, with decaying paintwork, through which they are seen. The other side of the same scene, showing the sign fixed to the railings, which says 'Notting Hill Adventure Playground'; commentary says this grew directly out of the problems associated with overcrowding and Rachmanism, and after the 1959 race riots; zoom out and pan to show more of exterior of playground, a Bedford van parked in front; managed by a committee of local residents and run by a playleader and four full-time colleagues.

Close shot of children climbing in the playground; nearest is in hooded anorak; 150-200 children use the playground every day throughout the year. Several children tumble down a slide towards us, with a soft landing - a mattress? Longer view of the slide, the street behind. A black boy runs towards us on a climbing frame gangway; a child swings on a rope at right. Viewed from below, the boy runs overhead. A white boy climbs on a high wall; tilt down to show a graffito depicting a profiled head in a hat, smoking; pan clockwise over the playground.

Children on the climbing frame, one using a hammer. Two boys hammering on the frame. A boy hammering on the outside. Children climbing on rope nets. Pan across seated children, one with a (?bicycle tyre), two extracting nails from wooden panels. A boy hammering a nail into an old beam. Boys in the playground wielding pickaxes and shovels. Children digging, viewed through frame; an old oil can in foreground, a paladin bin at right. Boys at work inside.

In an area with paint-decorated walls, one boy stands on a box, bending over to saw, as others hammer. Closer shot, over three boys' heads, of the boy sawing, viewed head on. The boy taps the wood with the saw blade; the boy in foreground, with his back to us, is in a woolly jumper decorated with charging bulls; the boy sawing is in two-colour plimsolls or sports shoes. Boys at work - one is wearing braces.

Pan across crude wooden frame of climbing frame. A secret place within, where a child is seen lying down, knees up, reading a comic. Children playing on the climbing frame. Anti-clockwise pan over climbing frame, girls standing on top, to garden area; voiceover describes good works the children also undertake. Children going through a gate. Looking between two children, a white rabbit hops left in a mesh pen. Children looking at the rabbit, then moving on. Close-up of the heads of two white ducks, seen through chickenwire. The children (including one black boy) move on; graffiti on the concrete fence behind them.

Overview of older boys playing football in an enclosure, old buildings at right, newer flats and tower blocks in distance; voiceover says there are now 25-30 of these playgrounds across the country, only some of which understand their true functions. Closer shot of the boys playing football, following the action; voiceover describes how playground can become community centre for all sorts of related activities.

Pan across old housing and back yards, over roof area of associated new community building, teenagers lounging about. The playground, a small bonfire burning in midshot; voiceover on playleadership. The smoking fire. Two black boys - one in a heavy jacket, the other in a hooded duffle coat - tend the fire; a child swings in background; boy recoils after touching hot wood. Child with plate of food, boy with hammer; boys by the fire as one reaches round another and takes a tin can.

Small child hammering, seen from below. Looking up a covered slide - walking with camera. Looking down slide, past children. Child swinging on rope. Child swinging on rope swing. Child swinging on rope. Child swinging on rope swing. Child swinging on rope. Child swinging on rope swing. Children seen through climbing net, rope swinging in front. Children climbing on net.

A grubby bowl of jars and paint brushes; one jar still has Nescafé label; a hand dabs a brush into white paint; another jar seen to have Nescafé label; a second hand withdraws brush and is followed back to child kneeling doing painting on large paper with sprocket holes either side - looks like computer paper; up to the child's face, then pan round to other children, all painting on same type of paper. Longer view of children on ground painting, with leader Pat Smythe. Group of boys, one pointing to others in choosing game. Man assisting small children. People entering.

Pan across the area under the Westway flyover; this is for the temporary summer playscheme, being run by two local mothers.

Crude entrance to Acklam Road playground, with sign saying 'Playground still open!'; pan to show passing underground train behind. Pan over playground; voiceover says Pat Smythe organised the election which created the first neighbourhood council here in Golborne. Pan across children playing in playground, to concrete pillar with poster saying 'Don't forget to vote in the Golborne Neighbourhood elections April 17-18th'; voiceover says children will learn that the world around them can be changed, and need not be taken as given.

[end]


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