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Film and video collection

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives holds over two hundred films and videos on a wide range of local topics. This collection includes commercially released DVDs and VHS tapes, as well as hours of rare and unique footage of the borough. Strengths include:

  • The Jewish East End
  • The Isle of Dogs and the development of London Docklands
  • Community organisations of the 1980s and 1990s
  • Migrant experiences of life in Tower Hamlets

In addition our oral history collection includes a number of video interviews with Tower Hamlets residents, and you can explore books, pamphlets, serials, news cuttings and ephemera in the Local History Library relating to film at the following classmarks:

770 Photography, films
770.1 Film groups and camera clubs
770.2 Films with local settings

Most of our films and videos are kept in special storage conditions at London Metropolitan Archives in partnership with London’s Screen Archive. Reference copies of many titles are available to view in our reading room. A growing number of these are digitised and available online via:

Our YouTube channel also includes recordings of past events and exhibitions.


To search our catalogued films and videos:

  1. Go to our online catalogue and select Advanced search from the right-hand panel
  2. Select ‘Video’ from the Type field and hit Search
  3. The results page will show you a list of films and videos on our catalogue, however you can refine your results combining the Type ‘Video’ with other keywords (for example ‘Isle of Dogs’, ‘Music’)
  4. Click on a record to view further details about the item
  5. If it is available to view online this will be recorded in the Notes field, otherwise you can ask a member of staff to view it in the reading room

Before 1960

  • The Methodist Church in Tower Hamlets. The Bow Mission 'London's East End' : silent film footage of the work 1935-39. LC14661.
  • Carol Reed. A kid for two farthings. 1955. LC10515.
  • Stephen Hearst. The more we are together. 1958. LC10521.
  • Chris Dorley-Brown. BBC in the East End 1958-1973. 1959-2007. LC10523.


  • Robert Vas. The vanishing street. 1962. Included on LC10513.
  • Joan Littlewood. Sparrows can't sing. 1963. LC14711.
  • Rainbow Youth Club (East End Mission). [ca. 1964]. LC15148.
  • Richard Marquand. Women, women, women : a series looking at women in Britain today, their lives and attitudes. 1966. LC10522.


  • Ivor Dunkerton. Man alive Vince, Paul, Lawrence and Richard. [1971]. LC10519.
  • Jenny Barraclough. Alright we'll do it ourselves. [1972]. LC13417.
  • Steve Charles. Count the weeks. 1975. LC10921.
  • Fly a flag for Poplar. [1975?]. LC10526.
  • Maggie Pinhorn. THAP Basement Writers lunchtime show. 1976. LC15150.
  • Goodbye Longfellow Road. [1977]. LC10517.
  • Tower Hamlets Carnival (1979). 1979. LC15049.



  • Afia Khatun. Free for all : Teviot Estate. [1991]. LC15072.
  • South Poplar and Limehouse Action for Secure Housing. The other side of Docklands. 1991. LC15075.
  • Mark Jay. East endings. 1993. LC10518.
  • Springboard Education Trust. The villages of Stepney. 1995. LC15077.
  • Jim Connor. East London's lost stations. 1999. LC15089.


  • Chinese National Healthy Living Centre. Whispers of time : oral histories of London's Chinese : memories of migration and settlement. 2005. LC14528.
  • Beyond Brick Lane : Bengali reflections on today's East End. 2007. LC10527.
  • Shane Davey. 14th floor : the history of social housing in Tower Hamlets. 2010. LC14663.
  • Walking proud in East London. 2011. LC14660.
  • Lucy Preston. Island girls. [ca. 2015]. LC14527.
  • William Raban. 72-82. 2015.
  • Adam Keelan. British Bangladeshis. 2020. LC15043.

 Other film and video collections featuring Tower Hamlets include:

Most have a selection of videos available online via their websites or on their YouTube channels.