Thursday evening saw another North West Film Archive selection hosted by the Manchester Modernist Society with a selection of films from their extensive collection at Manchester Central Library.
The first film from 1969 entitled Rochdale Blitz was not in fact about the havoc wreaked by the Luftwaffe but an enthusiastic appraisal of the widescale redevelopment of the town centre at the time - where the historic core was 'improved' to make way for new roads, high rise housing and shopping precincts. The plummy tones of the narator were marred by the deteriation of the sound quality over the years but this could not hide the passion for the destruction and redevelopment that was clearly felt to be the right thing to do.
Next we journeyed to 1971 in a film made by the Skelmersdale Development Corporation called Prospect of Skelmersdale - showing the planning and development of the Merseyside overspill town. As a promotional film the tone was inevitably positive, it was also notable for the casual sexism of the time, a shot of 'girly' pictures on the planning office wall being cited as evidence of the humanity of the 'men that desiged Skem'. The film also features in the music video for the song 'Signs' on the appropriately titled album 'Prospect of Skelmersdale" by British band The Magnetic North, which is released later this year.
Finally, a rare 1972 film section from a short lived TV series 'The Succeeders', about successful north west people. This film focussed on Keith Ingham, architect of Preston Bus Station, in which we see him talking about some of his buildings, including his own home, Blackpool Zoo, housing in Stockport and of course Preston Bus Station. It was a unique opportunity to see this rarely seen film and Kieth's groovy selection of polo neck sweaters.
A great chance to delve into the archives and explore the post-war built environment, with thanks to the North West Film Archive.