Theme Urban Life

Screen Archive South East is rich with images of the region's rural heritage. However the urban landscape of the region's towns and cities has also been captured well in many films over time, held in the archive. Film of Canterbury from the 1920s illustrates the old city alive with a burgeoning assortment of vehicles weaving through the streets. Film of pre-war Worthing also emphasises the increasing levels of trafic on the streets as well as recording the work of the building business run by the film-maker Mr Sparks.

The cathedral city of Chichester is illustated in many films across the decades, showing the ancient buildings, streets filled with shoppers, and one of the city's main industrial firms based there until the 1980s - Shippam's meat and paste factory.

Pre-Second World War film of Crawley shows life and events in this, at the time, small West Sussex town. By contrast, the film A New Town Story (1955) illustrates the rapid post war expansion that took place in the 1950s with the optimistic development of the flegling new town of Crawley.

Smaller towns from around the region are also featured in films from the archive such as Horsham, Folkestone, Burgess Hill, and Arundel. Walton-on-Thames in the 1920s and 1930s is illustrated through community events such as parades, local election results and sports meetings. Scenes around Tunbridge Wells in Kent in the 1950s are featured - including the Town Hall, the Opera House, Pantiles, and Chalybeate Spring.

Brighton is pictured in many of the archive's films as primarily a 'seaside resort', and to some extent, as a cultural centre in the region. Many films of Brighton therefore, have a strong focus on the leisure activities available and the pleasure seeking side of the city. However, several films in the archive illustrate some of the city's less pictured sides and more every-day aspects. This includes films showing images of bikers in Brighton, party conferences, traffic wardens, refuse collection and the main shopping streets and new shopping complexes.

Selected documentaries also illustrate the people and communities that have made a mark on the city of Brighton. The film Who Was Harry Cowley (1984) narrates the life and work of one of Brighton's foremost working-class heroes. And Bhashahara (1990) documents the immigrant Bangladeshi women living in Brighton. The region's growing multicultural population is one that the archive aims to increasingly reflect within its collection.

Films from Brighton from the 21st Century also begin to show the life and history of the city from a modern perspective. Digital City (2003) brings together 24 one minute films made as part of the Cinecity festival 2003, investigating the links between Brighton and its residents.