University of Brighton’s Dr Frank Gray and the team at Screen Archive South East (SASE) have prepared ‘War & Peace’ – a free to stream 7 minute film to both commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe and provide an introduction to the many films it has collected over the last twenty-five years on the experience of living in the South East during this epochal period of 1939-45. ‘War & Peace’ is designed as a chronological montage in black & white and colour of home front life as captured by film-makers from the region. It culminates with all the exhilaration and exuberance of the celebrations that took place that May in 1945 both on after VE Day on 8 May 1945. It features the building of Anderson shelters, air raid drills in a Hove school, a fire-engine off to an ‘incident’ in Surrey, Spitfires at Tangmere, Land Girls along with their pet dogs on the family farm in Surrey all posing in respirators, the ‘real’ Dad’s Army armed with broomsticks in West Clandon and the terrible and tragic aftermath of Brighton’s Blitz. It concludes with the end of war celebrations in London and the South East: parades, street parties, jitter-bugging and doing the hokey-cokey. ‘War & Peace’ is accompanied by a specially commissioned score from the award-winning screen composer Nina Humphreys.
‘War and Peace’ and all the films below (and many more) are free to stream online at https://screenarchive.brighton.ac.uk/
Watch: ‘War & Peace’: http://screenarchive.brighton.ac.uk/detail/13714/
Many of the films used in ‘War & Peace’ have never been seen before in public. SASE has been preparing for this anniversary by researching, digitising and cataloguing films from WW2. We now have, as a result, over one hundred and fifty Home Front films available to view on our website: http://screenarchive.brighton.ac.uk.
Six SASE films used within ‘War & Peace’ provide a valuable introduction to our Home Front collection and its representation of war years:
‘Brighton Civic Week, Civil Defence Services & Land Girls’ is one of a number of films by Winston Robinson, who during the war served as Brighton’s official cinematographer. This colour film features a visit by Home Secretary Herbert Morrison, who inspects the town’s defences, a parade in Brighton’s Preston Park saluting the twenty-six allied nations and women of the Land Army ploughing, harvesting and driving their tractors.
Watch: ‘Brighton Civic Week, Civil Defence Services & Land Girls’: https://screenarchive.brighton.ac.uk/detail/9500/
‘A.R.P’ a film by architect John Clague, who made a unique record of the Home Front in Herne Bay featuring evacuees arriving at the station, firemen dealing with incendiary bombs and men and women volunteers training to deal with casualties, first aid and gas attacks. He also filmed a visit to the deep tunnel shelters hewn into the cliffs of Ramsgate.
Watch: ‘A.R.P’: https://screenarchive.brighton.ac.uk/detail/11850/
A very recent discovery is the Bell collection’s ‘Childhood Wartime Scenes’ – which shows squadrons of Flying Fortresses flying overhead on a bombing raid and an attack by a V1 Doodlebug and the horrific devastation it brought to suburban Cheam.
Watch: ‘Childhood Wartime Scenes’: https://screenarchive.brighton.ac.uk/detail/10809/
‘Victory in Europe’ made by Angelo Razzo captures scenes on that amazing day in London with GI’s, leading the jitter-bugging and waltzing throughout London’s streets. This film continues to be a mystery as we haven’t yet been able to uncover any biographical information on Angelo Razzo and how he came to be on the streets of London with his camera on this day.
Watch: ‘Victory in Europe’: https://screenarchive.brighton.ac.uk/detail/5061/
‘Victory in Europe 1945’ – another film from Winston Robinson which starts with the Mayor proclaiming the formal declaration of peace to delighted crowds outside the Town Hall before showing the citizens of Brighton & Hove enjoying street parties all across the town with eating, dancing, funfairs and sing-a-longs all celebrating that momentous day.
Watch: ‘Victory in Europe 1945’:https://screenarchive.brighton.ac.uk/detail/448/
Norman Edwards’ highly atmospheric ‘Royal Thanksgiving’ captures the crowds, street sellers and men and women of the services assembling in Whitehall and along the Mall waiting to see the Royal Family joined by Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Then moving to Trafalgar Square we see Victory bonfires, dancing and lines of dancers doing the hokey-cokey.
Watch: ‘Royal Thanksgiving’:https://screenarchive.brighton.ac.uk/detail/3419/
These films also relate to two of the themes found on the SASE website:
Wartime & Military
Screen Archive Staff:
Director: Dr Frank Gray
Moving Image Archivist: Ine van Dooren
Business & Partnerships Manager: Jane King
Administrator: Louise Conway
Preservation & Production Manager: Nick Clark
Technical Assistant: Stasia Botwright
Collection Manager: Michael Matwiejczyk
Screen Archive South East is a publicly-funded regional film archive serving this region of England. Established in 1992 by the British Film Institute, the University of Brighton and a consortium of local authorities, SASE is dedicated to collecting, preserving, digitising, cataloguing and providing public and commercial access to its screen collection of films, videotapes, lantern slides and digital files. SASE is committed to ‘inclusive heritage’ and nurturing and sharing a vision for screen heritage that combines research, stewardship, curation, exhibition and education with audience & visitor development. It is dedicated to skill-sharing, knowledge-sharing (archival & curatorial) and working in partnership with colleagues both regionally and nationally.
Part of the University of Brighton, it serves the South East of England and its six local authorities: Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, Kent, Medway, Surrey and West Sussex. Its collection of over 25,000 lantern slides and moving images document the rise of screen culture in the region and the nation and represent primarily the changing nature of life in the South East from the late 19th century to the present day. SASE’s Conservation Centre is found within the West Sussex Record Office at Chichester (which includes work space and a climate-controlled media vault). This record office is SASE’s primary partner.
In 2009 SASE was recognised by the BFI as a significant UK film collection and it features on the AHRC website as one of their case studies:
General enquiries should be made to:
Screen Archive South East
University of Brighton
154-155 Edward Street
Brighton, BN2 0JG
Tel: +44 (0)1273 643213