Title ID 5456Collection ID774
TitleBritish Home Design [Davis Estates Ltd]
ThemeUrban Life
KeywordsBuilding Construction Buildings Communities Companies Houses Interiors Labour Urban Areas Workers
LocalLondon Harrow Charring Cross Victoria London Bridge Cannon Street Chislehurst Mottingham Petts Wood Reigate
RegionalGreater London Kent Surrey
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionDavis Estates Ltd
ProducerGaumont British Equipments Ltd.
Commissioning bodyDavis Estates Ltd
SoundRecorded on British Acoustic film.
FormatBlack & White Sound
Duration20min 24 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A film by Davis Estates Ltd promoting their new suburban housing developments in the counties surrounding London. The film shows the building process and takes a tour of the new buildings and interiors. The local amenities and access to London by rail are emphasised along with the advantage of purchase over renting.


The commentary introduces the architectural theme of the film by looking at grand buildings in London. But the commentary claims the 'business people of today need physical and mental relaxation' and recommends living in the country but within a 'few minutes of town'. The exterior of a Davies Estates show house at Charring Cross is shown. Te commentary claims 'money should buy health and comfort'. Views of children outside Victorian inner-city dwellings are contrasted with children playing in the countryside. A map shows the London stations accessible from the new Davies estates in Harrow, Luton, Southgate, Ilford, Petts Wood, Mottingham, Chistlehurst, Reigate, Horsham, Gosport and Bournemouth.

Scenes of men working in the drawing office are followed by scenes of labourers working with spades to dig the footings of new houses. Bricklayers lay a damp-proof course using layers of cement and slate. Wooden window frames are delivered and the roofs take shape on the Southgate estate. A tiler's assistant carries roof tiles up a ladder with a pile of tiles on his head. A plasterer smoothes plaster on the walls and other workmanship is illustrated before a finished house with 'spacious windows' is revealed. Various semi-detached house styles are shown in various price ranges, each with garage space. A 'modern' flat roofed design from 1934 is shown, followed by a new design named the 'Jubilee House' revealed in the 1935 Ideal home show.

Inside the show home, the furnished open plan living room and dining room are shown, with electric radiator in the dining room. The kitchen is fitted with modern appliances including a stainless steel kitchen sink and chromium handles on the fitted cupboards. Upstairs three bedrooms are shown along with the bathroom.

A street on the Southgate estate is shown and the commentary describes the amenities accessible by train, including parks, cinemas and shopping centres. Broomfield park's tennis courts and bowling green are shown. At Harrow there is a golf course, woodland and a new swimming pool. Local schools close to the estate are shown.

The amenities surrounding the new estate at Chislehurst are discussed including the schools. The estate includes some 'modern' flat roof style houses. The estates at Sidcup Road and Petts Wood are shown. On Earlswood Common, boys are shown fishing in a lake. At Horsham a game of cricket is played and the centre of the market town is shown.

The film promotes the purchase of their book 'The Wisdom of House Purchase', published by Davis Estates Ltd. A rent book is shown being torn up. A man seated at a desk speaks to the viewer stating that renting is wrong and detrimental to your family. The sales pitch ends with the company logo: “Your guarantee Davis Built”. The End.


British Home Design (1935)

Contextual information

Davis Estates Ltd was one of several developers involved in the expansion of housing in Britain in the 1930s. Addressing an acute housing shortage, numerous new suburbs were built in the open country that surrounded many towns and cities. This film concentrates on London and the South East and one of its selling points is the proximity of its new developments to good transport links to London enabling home owners to work in London and commute easily. The developers also anticipated the growth in car ownership. There are few cars visible on the streets of the new suburbs in this film, yet the film mentions that Davis Estates' more high-end homes have a garage attached.