Film: 8074

Politics | 1950 | Sound | B/W


An official film detailing how local government works in Slough, what the rates are spent on and the services it provides for the community, and how local election Councillors fitted into the system.

Aerial shot of semi detached houses, postman delivers mail to a house, closes the garden gate, wheels bike across the road to house number 40. Postman stops outside a house and opens the gate. Inside number 40, the Jenkins family, mother, father, son and daughter having breakfast together. Boy, John, gets up as they hear the post arrive. Wife, Mrs. Jenkins passes her husband a cup of tea. He is dressed in a suit and tie. John brings in the letters and hands them to the father, Mr. Jenkins, who looks through the mail and sees another rate demand. He looks at the amount due and is surprised. He complains to his wife and says he doesn't know what they spend the money on. John reads the back of the demand which states what the rate money is spent on. John says he has been learning about Civic matters at school. John says that each property is valued on its size and situation. Daughter, Susan rolls her eyes in boredom. John explains rateable value. The father tries the salt but it is empty so the mother goes to get some more. Mother gets up and tells John to get on with his breakfast. She wears a floral pinafore or apron. Susan's hair is in bunches.

In a house down the street, a man, Councillor Brown, is sitting at a roll top or cylinder desk with boxes of index cards and an old 1940's style telephone on top of it. He is doing work for his candidature in local elections, gathers together loads of envelopes that he is sending out to voters including a photograph of himself. Outside number 40, Mr. Jenkins gets into his car and reverses down his driveway, son holding a bike or bicycle shouts a warning as his father almost crashes into a council rubbish lorry or garbage truck that has Slough Corporation on the side. Mrs. Jenkins stands in the front door to wave her husband goodbye as he goes to work. John wheels his bike out as the lorry moves forward, the car, a Morris minor, reverses into the road and drives off as John cycles off, the dustman appears carrying a metal rubbish bin on his shoulder and empties the bin into the lorry. John tells his father through the car window that rubbish collection is paid for by his rates. It is winter, the trees are bare.

Mr. Jenkins car and John's bike stop at traffic lights. John points to the lights and tells his father through the window that his rates pay for traffic control as well. The lights change, John signals and peddles his bike around a corner. Jenkins drops his daughter at school. Susan and other well dressed teenagers walk into a 1950's type school block. Narrator says that education makes the heaviest demands on rates. Jenkins drives off. He waves through the car window at Councillor Brown, who is posting his letters in a pillar post-box. Jenkins stops to pick up Brown. Viewed from the back seat of the car, the men chat as they drive. Brown says the upcoming elections mean more work for councillors. Jenkins complains that they should bring rates down. A policeman standing in the centre of a cross roads, halts traffic in the town centre. He holds up his arm and walks towards Jenkins car, who stops. The men look through the windscreen perplexed at why they have been stopped. The policeman allows a truck travelling in the opposite direction to continue its journey, then a fire engine, bell ringing turns in front of Jenkins car, the fire engine has Buckingham Fire Service written on the side. Onlookers watch the fire truck. The policeman waves traffic on. View from back of car of Jenkins and Brown talking, Brown says rates pay for the fire service. Brown invites Jenkins to an election meeting. Jenkins declines saying his vote doesn't matter anyway. Low point of view of the car as they park next to an old 1930's type car. There are puddles on the ground. They wave and walk off in different directions. Narrator says voters have the right to see where their money is being spent.

Slough town centre or high street with traffic and pedestrians. A woman rides a push bike or bicycle, and a man on a motorbike follows a lorry. Jenkins walks along the pavement, past a man who is kneeling down working on a street light pole. Next to him a truck is parked with a ladder extending from the back. It has a sign on the truck saying Danger Overhead Repairs. Pan up to show a man up the ladder fixing the street light. Narrator says Jenkins did not realize how many services his rates paid for. View of road with small metal extendable road block. Traffic pass on the other side of the road. There is a man hole in the road and a man dressed in a black coat and a homburg type hat descends into the manhole watched by onlookers. The workman check the drains. Jenkins notices a street cleaner empting public rubbish bins that have Litter written on the side. Jenkins puts some rubbish in the bin and walks on. Jenkins crosses the street at some traffic lights and goes into a newsagents shop to buy cigarettes. Narrator says Jenkins is wondering if he should go to the council meeting. The woman behind the counter acknowledges him but doesn't serve him. He gets impatient. A man scoops some ice cream out of a Walls chest freezer next to the shop counter. He puts the ice-cream in a jar. He closes a suitcase full of jars and takes them away. There are large jars of sweets and boxes of sweets on the counter. The woman behind the counter gets a packet of cigarettes from the shelves behind her and hands them to Jenkins. She tells him that the man was a Public Health Officer and that he checks the ice-cream for food safety. Jenkins lights a cigarette in the shop as he listens to her. Narrator says that all shops selling food are regularly tested for hygiene. Jenkins wonders if it is necessary.

Jenkins sitting in an audience at the council election meeting. Brown gives speech saying he will serve the community and the individual. He sits down next to the meeting chairman behind a desk. Audience claps. Chairman asks for questions. Jenkins stands up and asks where the council spends the rates money. Brown stands up and stands in front of the deck to reply. Brown says he has not time to go into detail about where the money is spent. Close ups of audience members, nearly all men, only a couple of women in the background. Brown explains that money is spent to benefit the community, and that the public must be protected, he talks about buildings and food safety, drains, no more plagues etc. Close ups of people listening, one man smokes a pipe. Brown leans on the desk saying that it would take too long to list all the council does. Outside grand council offices, a U-shaped building with porticos on the façade. Front door of Town Hall. Close up of notice showing the departments: Ground floor - Housing, Sewage Purification, Public Health; First Floor - Town Clerk, Borough Engineer, Borough Treasurer, Director of Education. Narrator says the focus is on Public Health. In Public Health a man in white coat opens a fridge and removes a pot, examines the label and opens the jar. Narrator says tests are done on food to ensure it is safe and wholesome for the public to eat. Sometimes food poisoning occurs. A doctor with a stethoscope leans over checking a young boy lying in bed, he stands up and talks to the mother. Narrator says the boy needs hospital treatment. The Doctor is on the telephone. The boy is loaded into an ambulance, by one female and one male ambulance worker. Female gets into the ambulance with the boy. Mother hands her the boys suitcase and teddy bear. Mother waves goodbye. Male closes rear doors of ambulance. A man at a well organized desk talks into a telephone. He hangs up and uses another phone. He is talking to the Health Officer, telling him to check the food from the sick boy's home. A man arrives at the boy's house and the mother lets him in. A technician in a white coat in laboratory is testing food specimens. Narrator says there are other ways public health is protected. A stream running behind row of brick houses. Washing hangs on the line and small walkway bridges go over the stream. Narrator says this would once have been an open sewer. Bricklayer in a hole builds a drain. Sewage plant. Waterworks. Reservoir. Close up of a hand turning a tap on to let water flow. Workmen in trench dug in a street. Roadworks. Men stand and watch others working in trench. Workman works on pipes. Narrator says underneath roads there are pipes and cables for water, sewage, gas, electric and telephone. Workman hammering in a trench. Close up of hands unrolling town plans in the Borough Engineers office.

View from car driving around new housing estate with lawns in front. Bricks being carried on a man's shoulder to new houses under construction. Shots of houses being built. Building site with scaffold. Man on roof tiling. Man carries tiles balanced on his head. Man on ground shovelling sand into a cement mixer. Pneumatic drill cuts up road. Close up of drill and pick axe. Workmen dig up road. Cement dumped by new curb from a small vehicle into a trench along the road. Rubbish or garbage emptied from lorry at rubbish dump or land fill site. Man in hat and goggles gives directions. Lorry drives off. Rubbish sprayed by hand with disinfectant. Bulldozer or earth mover or digger shifts rubbish. Digger clears earth for new dump. Old dump is covered, grass sown and will be a playing field. Open field. Two school girls 'bully off' at hockey. They use their hockey sticks to try to get the ball. Playground with swings and slide. Boys cross stream on stones, line of poplar trees in the background. A stream trickles through tree lined public park. Woman walks by stream. A woman closes a garden gate, and knocks and enters a terrace house. She is a health visitor and sits down opposite an old man to chat to him. The room is messy and dark and there is a piano. A black cat sits on the arm of the chair next to the old man. Outside of modern bungalow, glass panelled front door and bay window. Inside a Health visitor sits talking to another woman, she is a mother that needs to go into hospital but can not leave her children. Small children play at their feet with toy trains. Narrator says there are residential homes to help out until the mother is out of hospital. Small children play in a Care Home. A group of toddlers sit on child size chairs around a low table. They are painting. Another woman plays with toddlers going down a small slide in the room. A nursery with cots and a play pen. A Nurse feed a baby, another puts a child in a play pen. Close up of a baby feeding from a bottle.

Susan and Mrs. Jenkins walk into the public library. A woman takes a book up to the desk as others walk in. Mother and daughter chose books. People sit reading papers and magazines in a room full of wooden tables and chairs. People admire a painting exhibition at the local art gallery. Susan and her mother admire painting. In a hall, teenagers learning formal dancing, they are waltzing. Dance instructor corrects boys posture. Couples dance, some girls sit around the walls watching. Kids play in public indoor swimming pool and dive from a board. A girl swims to the side and is helped out by the fully dressed swimming instructor. View of school yard. Policeman shows boys how to ride bikes safely. John is tested for his road safety. Policeman checks John's bike for safety.

That evening, Mr. Jenkins stands and talks to family, pipe in hand. Mother sewing. Son admiring stamp collection on the floor next to his mother. Father talks. Mother, sewing, replies. They decide to do their bit in the council elections. They have the Local electoral candidates committee room in their front room or lounge. Poster on the wall to support Councillor Brown. Narrator says on election day the Committee room is used by canvassers etc. Jenkins ticks a name of a list and hands a man a piece of paper. Councillor Brown outside the Polling Station. He wears a rosette. Inside polling station. Checking electoral roll. Man collects his ballot paper. Inside a table of 3 officials hands ballot paper to a voter who goes into a booth to vote. Voters in booths. Man walks out and puts vote in the ballot box. Committee room, handing out tea to helpers. Candidate knocks on door, woman answers and they talk. Papers go in the ballot box. Box opened and tipped up. Crowd gathers awaiting result. Returning Officer appears on a balcony and reads results. Crowd cheers. Supporters congratulate winner. Narrator says Brown has won. At the room in Jenkins house, they all congratulate Councillor Brown. View of Council Chamber. Mayor seated on high bench. Looks like a court room. Public watches from gallery. Clerk reads minutes of previous meeting. It is the duty of Councillors to raise matters brought to them by the public. View of chamber from above. Narrator says they meet once a month. Councillors stand to have a say, Mayor decides who speaks. People leave the town hall. Matters are given to the correct committee. The chairman of the committee reports their recommendations to the council. The council either accept or reject the recommendations. It is the duty of councillors to represent the public and provide value for money and it is the duty of the public to pay their rates and take an interest in how their community is run.

To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 8074.