Film Viewer

Film Viewer owned by Sue Crockford

Found Donated by Sky Crockford, daughter of Sue Crockford, filmmaker

Date c. 1980s

Many images of Somers Town have passed through this film viewer. It belonged to Sue Crockford, who, in 1984, made a documentary about Somers Town that was shown on TV. The film was a result of many years of familiarity with Somers Town, as a youth worker here, and years of research. She interviewed people who were still around from the early days of the St Pancras Housing Improvement society, such as Irene Barclay. She also interviewed many of the women who had lived through the years of slum clearance and change in the area – oiling their tongues with a little beer to get the stories flowing. The result was an extraordinary portrait of working class life.

To make her film, Sue Crockford found copies of all of the films commissioned by Basil Jellicoe and his team in the offices of the housing association. She incorporated parts of them into her film in order to tell the story of change and improvement in the area. She noted how the Housing Improvement Society were pioneering in their use of a new medium, 16mm film, to raise funds and spread the word. She wanted to do something similar in Somers Town. Other films by Sue Crockford also have a local tinge. In 1989 a film on Mary Wollstonecraft was called The Rights of Man and the Wrongs of Woman. In 1992 a film for TV, Kings Cross: David and Goliath explored the vexed question of extensive redevelopment in the Kings Cross area, and its impact on local communities, the result of which they live with today.

By Esther Leslie

link to interview with Sue Crockford: