In focus: Natural beauty to see you through quarantine

Two hikers on a mountaintop

While going outside is restricted we've been digging through the British Council Film Archive, a collection of over 100 short documentary films we made during the 1940s, to remind ourselves what we're missing out there.

Coastal Village is one of a series of films in the archive on human geography. It takes a look at the harsh realities of life in a fishing community; in this case, Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel), in Cornwall in the South West of England. Lots of fresh sea air, lots of back-breaking work, and a LOT of pilchards. It’s a portrait of a typically picturesque Cornish village, in beautiful black and white.

Starting at the White Cliffs of Dover, The People’s Land is a Technicolor traipse around some National Trust properties, taking in some stunning countryside and properties.

The cinematography is by Geoffrey Unsworth, who went on to film Powell and Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and win Oscars for Cabaret and (posthumously) Tess. And if you enjoy the music, it’s by Vaughan Williams, one of the UK’s most prominent 20th century classical composers. Check out some more here:

Narrator Freddie Grisewood was a BBC broadcaster, and from 1948 until 1967 he hosted the radio programme 'Any Questions', a current affairs discussion show still broadcast today.

A trip to Wales now, where you can climb Snowdonia, head down into the valleys and jump across stepping stone in a babbling stream. Virtually, of course.

More glorious Technicolour, and opening to the stirring strains of a male voice choir singing 'Land of My Fathers'. Prydferth iawn!

Director Horace Shepherd also composed scores for features, including Nudist Paradise (1958): An American art student in England falls in love with a beautiful Englishwoman. It turns out that she's a nudist, and in spite of his misgivings, he decides to join her at her nudist camp. ..

Snowdonia was established in 1951 as the third National Park in Britain, following the Peak District and Lake District.

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British Council film archive

Take a trip down memory lane with this rights-free collection of over 100 short documentaries about wartime Britain, made by us during the 1940s.


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