Social History | 1950 | Sound | B/W
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A look at post war housing and how to develop it with improved amenities. Also shows new housing being built. Good shots of terraced houses inside and out.
Title - "The Stockton Test - A Story of Four Forgotten Homes"
A train moves along a railway track. Camera pans right to reveal a row of terraced houses and the back yards - "the forgotten houses of Britain". View of the front street.
A building site where new housing is being built. Blocks of bricks lined up and men at work. Close-up of a man laying bricks and cement. Two houses nearing completion. They are semi-detached, brick houses with large windows. Men carry in "the latest type of fireplace" which reads "Marathon" on the side. Inside the house, a man lays new flooring.
Post-war houses, close together houses which open on to the street, toilets outside, washing hanging in the back yard. Inside the small kitchen area, cramped with peeling walls. A stove with pots and pans and a small table with a teapot. Commentary refers to the Housing Act of 1949. Two steam trains pass each other, one a goods train carrying iron, the other a passenger train.
Voice over mentions the Stockton Test, a test on four houses on Alliance Street in Stockton, North East England. Series of doors with the number 38, 40, 42 and 44 on them. The Mayor of Stockton talks to a group of men in a small room. He says he is impressed with the idea to prevent the houses becoming slums. He listens as the group gathered give their opinions on how to adapt the houses. A man puts some plans on the small coffee table and indicates how the houses are currently set up. They talk about extending the house by building into the yard to provide the kitchen and bathroom. Close-up of the map as he points with a pen. The builder present addresses the camera - "this is a thoroughly good job".
The front door of one of the houses opens and we get a view of inside. Voice over explains where the parlour, scullery and kitchen are. Camera pans around the sitting room and shows a fireplace, table and chairs. Outside the tin bath is hanging on the wall which is carried into the sitting room for use. Men laying bricks outside and putting in the window frames for the new kitchens. A view from the next door neighbour's house who lets the camera film from her upstairs window. The difference can be seen between the two yards more clearly. Digging in the front street to lay the new water pipes. A man digging right in the hole and a woman brings him a cup of tea. The work attracts attention from the whole street; a little boy in school uniform peers in while the men work, passers by on bicycles etc..
The water board inspector arrives to oversee the work. View of the street at five o' clock where the work is complete and the road is restored to normal.
Grandma Dawson, a grey haired lady with an apron is polishing the grate by the fireplace for the last time before two men take it down.
A woman answers her door to the crew and they talk to her about moving. She ways she wouldn't want to leave to go to one of the new houses because she was born and brought up here and wants to stay.
The woman at number 42, Mrs Braithwaite shows a neighbour where the new bathroom and kitchen will be. The women wear long overcoats and hats. A workman carries pipes and from while they talk. Grandma Dawson sits next to her new fireplace and the Mayoress visits to sit and talk to her about the developments. They talk happily and the Mayor arrives and shakes her hand. Close-up of Grandma Dawson talking about how she used to heat water and what it cost her.
Close-up of a street sign which reads "Alliance Street".
Door opens to Mrs Dawson's improved house. The door has been painted white. The new sitting room and fireplace, newly painted looks brighter and more welcoming. In the new kitchen, a gas cooker and new enamel sink with two taps. New bathroom with a toilet and fitted bath, window sill with plants. New food cupboards in the kitchen. Small coal shed in the back yard. View of the adapted houses from the back showing the lost yard space. Panning left to an undeveloped house, it shows what is preferable. Inside Mrs Braithwaite's house and her friend is looking at the new kitchen. Close-up of her asking if the rent has gone up.
Mrs Braithwaite's son Alan is working on the engine of a car. He stops, wipes his hands and closes the boot. He cycles along the back street of his mother's house and goes in through the back gate. The old tin bath is leaning against the wall waiting to be taken to the scrap heap. He goes through the gate and into the new kitchen. He washes his hands at the new sink in hot water. Mrs Dawson is cooking a joint with her new oven in front of the fire. A baby splashes happily in the new bath and a mother comes to lift the baby out. Mrs Braithwaite washes up her plates in the new kitchen. A park where Mrs Braithwaite walks around the railings by a water feature.
A stern looking man addresses the camera at a desk with the builder's invoice in front of him. He talks through the costs of the new housing and where the money can be found. "The plan must go on". As he talks scenes of the many streets where people are still living in run down houses. Aerial view of the houses, close-up of the smoking chimneys on rooftops.
A train passes by with people standing and waving as he talks about progress using transport as an example - "the old Stockton and Darlington railway of 1840 has become this". A plane (aircraft) flies overhead. Under the wings reads "VX770".
Rooftops of Alliance street, chimneys smoking and aerials. Final shots of the old and new houses, the baby in the bath and Mrs Braithwaite walking in the park.
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