London’s Screen Archives enables Londoners see their past come alive on film. Managed by Film London, we are a unique network of historic film collections that cares for, collects and screens heritage film across the city. Together we preserve London’s rich film heritage from feature films to home movies, public information films, newsreels, and records of the capital’s many different industries.
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It’s The Circus Parts 1 & II, Olympia
Bears, tigers and elephants perform for the crowds in this compelling colour footage from the Christmas circus at Olympia.
Promotional 1955 15 mins Silent
From the collection of:
These two films capture entertainment at the circus after the war, with performing animals featuring prominently. It’s rather discomforting watching bears in grass skirts balance on balls, and there are also elephants, chimps and tigers. Human performers feature as well, including clowns, trick cyclists and a little person on a pony. The Bertram Mills Circus was held every Christmas at Olympia for decades either side of the war.
Animals on Film
Documentary 1940 12 mins
Fun mixture of natural history and wartime public information.
Comedy 2004 4 mins
Sweet and funny short about a potty-mouthed dog who loves his owner
Non-Fiction 1959 3 mins
Six legged competitors take to the starting blocks as a Midlands pub brings the sport of beetle racing to the world.
News 1971 5 mins Location: St Keverne
Daisy the pet alligator living on the Lizard in Cornwall
Children's 1972 52 mins Director: David Eady
Fun-packed comedy for kids, in which a boy befriends a baby elephant – then teams up with his friends to stop it being sold
Amateur film 1967 14 mins Location: Thompson Common
Should you look hard enough, you’ll be amazed at the antics that creatures get up to, says Dorothy Maxey, amateur filmmaker and naturalist.
Amateur film 1932 2 mins Silent Location: Olympia
Travel back in time to the National Wireless & Radio Exhibition at Olympia London to view the technology of yesteryear.
Amateur film 1962 10 mins Silent Location: Olympia
Heads up, tails up, ears brushed? Furry frolics from London's Olympia, and a starring role for man's best friend.
Promotional 1935 4 mins Silent Location: Olympia
Elephants, acrobats, clowns and cowboys all feature in this highlights reel from the annual Bertram Mills Circus at Olympia.
Promotional 1935 15 mins Silent Location: Olympia
Illuminated carriages, exotic acrobats and boxing clowns all feature in this extended film of highlights from the Bertram Mills Circus at Olympia.
Post-War Backstage Stables and Ring Scenes, Ascot & Olympia Post-War Backstage Stables and Ring Scenes, Ascot & Olympia
Amateur film 1955 4 mins Silent Location: Olympia
Hair-combing chimps, performing elephants and a toothsome cheetah feature in this film of the Bertram Mills Circus.
Promotional 1959 5 mins Silent Location: Olympia
Swoon at the costumes, laugh at the clowns and wonder at the elephants as the cast of the Bertram Mills Circus enter the ring for another stellar performance.
1926 40 mins Silent
Compelling travel feature edited from footage of the 1925-26 Worsley Algarsson Arctic expedition.
Inside Film 2021 41 mins
In this illustrated discussion, BFI programmer-at-large Geoff Andrew and Catherine Wheatley, the author of two books on Michael Haneke’s work, examine what makes him such a distinctive, important and often controversial cinematic artist.
Inside Film 2021 41 mins
Film critic Carmen Gray and film writer Ela Bittencourt discuss three films by trailblazing Czech filmmaker Věra Chytilová.
Inside Film 2021 40 mins
In this discussion, BFI programmer-at-large Geoff Andrew and Sue Harris, Professor of Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London, will focus on three titles to look at what made Malle such a rewarding filmmaker.
Inside Film 2021 38 mins
BFI National Archive curator Will Massa and film critic Beatrice Loayza explore the work of contemporary British filmmaker Joanna Hogg.
Inside Film 2021 47 mins
Writer and activist So Mayer joins filmmaker and critic Alexandra Hidalgo to discuss the work of acclaimed French director and artist Agnès Varda.