Film: 5298

Places + Locations | 1940 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

A film about environmental and pollution issues affecting Great Britain and the changing face of Britain after the war. A plea to preserve rural England from development. Idyllic scenes of rural Britain.
Water flowing, a bubbling stream or babbling brook. A river flows under an ancient stone bridge, beside it there is an old stone house and a pub called The Pack Horse. Shaftesbury in Dorset (the cobbled, steep street from the Hovis advertisement), Corfe Castle. An abbey (Glastonbury?) Cathedral. Old stone arched bridge over river. Sweeping views of countryside. River, woods. Cliffs and inlets. The Dorset coast? A bulldozer runs over hedges, clearing the land for building. Close up of a Eucyrus Erie machine moving earth and soil. Prefabricated houses. Former army camps. Sign reads "Danger Keep Out. There are Bombs and Unexploded Shells Inside. They Can Kill You." Military relics of World War Two, old war planes, possibly Spitfires, rotting in a field possibly at Wroughton ? A roadside tearoom, little more than a shed with a sign reading "Teas. Vic's Snack Bar." Another one reads "Cheerio Café, Telfers Meat Pies", another "White Hut Café". The narrator says how ugly they all are. Sign at Ashtead Park "Building plots for sale." Advertising hoardings in the countryside. Signs and billboards bring "commercialism" into the countryside (says the narrator, scathingly). Various signboards. Factories, pylons. Factory chimneys bellow out smoke. Quarry. Decaying boat in polluted canal. A car drives up a country road. Derelict country houses that were used for hospitals. Disused army camp buildings. Scene of industrial town, chimneys and factories. A pram stands outside a house, a child plays and a woman stands watching. Aerial view of rows of back to back cottages, workers' housing, factory smoke covers the scene.
Uninhabited village of Imber on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. Here (time code 10:01:00 - 12:15:00 i.e. lasting 2 minutes and 15 seconds) the voiceover reads: 'Consider this: this is an English village that is dead; its inhabitants are gone; its homes lie neglected and in ruins; its gardens choked and overgrown; and its farmland has been laid waste. Nothing stirs; it is dead.
'War Office statement on Imber issued April 3rd 1948: Owing to the increased size and range of modern weapons the 1000 yard safety zone restricted training to such a degree that it was decided that the village would have to be evacuated so that the full Imber area could be used. Although itself not used for any form of training, the village has suffered from neglect, accidental damage and weather and to reinstate it would be very costly. If the inhabitants had been allowed to go back to Imber village the restricted area would have been useless for modern forms of training and as the Imber area as a whole is absolutely vital for training purposes the decision not to allow the former inhabitants to go back has to be taken.
'These homes once housed the workers who produced food from the nearby fertile fields. For this WAS a village'.
For the duration of the script we see many and varied views of the village of Imber, Wiltshire - the high street, buildings and overgrown gardens, derelict and damaged houses, houses with damaged windows or with tiles or slates missing. Derelict old post office. 1930's council housing. House with its corner missing due to shell damage? Sign attached to building saying 'public telephone'. View of Imber Church from within a ruined building. Barn with a nearly bare thatched roof.
Two men stand chatting on a country road, in a village, they wear caps. A man and a woman walk up the road. The narrator speaks about a crisis in rural life, village life issues. Old English houses, a Tudor beamed house. Hay baling. This is the Enborne Valley, Berkshire, under threat from the Metropolitan Water Board. Idyllic English country scenes of houses and a church. A man and woman walk through the wooden porch into the churchyard. Sheep grazing.
A machine flattens the ground for building. Men working on a building site, building new houses. They climb scaffolding, one pushes a wheelbarrow on the roof. Houses under construction. Bricklaying. Warning about too much urbanisation, housing built on green field sites.
Open cast coal mining, a machine digs up the earth in a field. Coal deposit is loaded into a truck from a crane. Cattle in a field. Industrial plant. Shots of various unidentified National Trust properties. A woman in an apron walks up a village street. Thatched houses and new buildings which fit into their environment. Planning to soften the appearance of modern industrial buildings (trees, gardens, etc). A car is parked outside a building beside an attractive lamp post. People on a sports field next to large building, possible a university. Another large building with a lake in front of it.
Goughs Caves in Somerset, shown as an example of how not to build a visitors centre. Visitors mill around. Coach tour visiting caves at Wookey Hole, Somerset. Agricultural scenes. People visiting a beauty spot. Families picnic on the grass, one family has a camping kettle. People sit at tables at an outdoor café amongst trees. Visitors outside the gift shop. A row of motor buses or coaches. People getting off a coach. Visitors climb steps into an old church, the sound of church bells. Fields, crops growing. Cows walking down a lane with a church in the background. The cows go into a shed, followed by a small boy. A flock of sheep pass through a gate. A tractor pulls a combine harvester in a field. Field with bales of hay. Farmers pick up hay with hay forks. A farmer in a cap and neckscarf stands at a fence. Young women pick up hay with hay forks. Hay cart pulled by horses. It passes down a street and across a green towards a village.

Ends.


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