Unseen footage of Redbridge’s ‘lost history’ is unearthed

A short newsreel showing highlights of a 40-mile relay race round Ilford in 1929. Photo: BFI Nationa

A short newsreel showing highlights of a 40-mile relay race round Ilford in 1929. Photo: BFI National Archive - Credit: Archant

The community is being called on help unearth the “lost history” of Redbridge as footage chronicling the capital over the last century is released.

Footage of Ilford carnival and millennium celebrations at the hospital chapel, in Ilford Hill, are among the many moments caught on tape which will be released by the London Screen Archives this month.

Residents of Redbridge – among 15 other boroughs including Croydon and Richmond – are now being called on to contribute their own stories to the records with an online cataloguing tool called “Local Eyes”.

Contributor Bill Saunders, 69 from West Kensington spotted himself as a child in a film called ‘Green Islands,’ made by London County Council to promote the London parks and open spaces.

“For me, finding this film was nothing short of a little miracle!” he said.

“I had long given up any idea of ever seeing my little part of this film which was captured when I was just 6 years old.

“It was originally released as a supporting film to Moby Dick, which I was too young to watch in the cinema - in fact I ended up using my ticket money to gorge myself on sweets instead!

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“Now, over 60 years later I have been able to finally view it through London’s Screen Archives.

The footage has been captured through the lenses of amateur and professional filmmakers alike.

It can be viewed on London’s Screen Archives website, where enhanced search features enable users to easily discover London’s history and get a sense of how the city looked all those years ago.

Adrian Wootton OBE, chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “We were so inspired by Bill’s story and know that many more Londoners like Bill have been able to reconnect with footage once lost to them through the London’s Screen Archives website.

“We hope that even more people from across the city will contribute their knowledge and footage to the archive, further bringing London’s rich social history to life.”

View the footage here.