Tuesday, August 7, 2012

BBC4 London Collections

If you have a spare half hour why not check out one of these lovely documentaries which have been dug out of the BBC archives (and are available to watch on iplayer!). They range in date from the 1950's to the 1990's and focus on different areas of London or aspects of London life. I'm especially enjoying them because they're recent enough that you can easily recognise plenty of the streets and buildings) but they transport you back a gentler London and are quietly moving.

Just Another Day: Soho was made in 1985 (the year I was born!) and features some of the local inhabitants of London's 'crooked square mile' - where I've worked for the last five years! I loved the policeman's choir and the foley artists especially. I'm very fond of Soho even though it's changed so much since the 80's - maybe I'll write a little guide on some of my favourite places to eat and drink (and dance the night away!).

Ours To Keep: Incomers looks at the challenges faced by a gang of historians, artists and local enthusiasts (including one Denis Severs) hoping to preserve some of east London's beautiful Georgian townhouses (some of which, at the time the documentary was made, hadn't been entered since Victorian times!) whilst trying to balance the need for local housing and space for businesses to flourish.

Special Enquiry: A Girl Comes To London reminds me of my grandma who came to London from Padstow in Cornwall when she was 17 and rented one room with three other girls. The landlady thought she was only renting to two girls as two of them worked day shifts and two of them worked nights so they would come and go via a ladder at the window and take it in turns to sleep in the one double bed!

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