This film is part of Free

New Towns for Old

Sheffield stands in as 'Smokedale', an industrial Everytown, in this stirring call for "new schools, new hospitals, new roads, new life", after WWII.

Documentary 1942 6 mins


This wartime public information film combines impressive shots of industrial poverty with inspiring words scripted by Dylan Thomas, proffering new housing and better lives after the war. The film was produced by Strand Films, a leading producer of documentaries for the Ministry of Information during World War II, and was intended to boost wartime morale.

Dylan Thomas tries his hand at Yorkshire dialogue in his script for the film. Rather than using a conventional voiceover, he devises a conversation between two young men - with one impressing upon the other (and on the viewer), the urgent need for town planning as they stroll through Smokedale. Thomas later became famous for his 'play for voices', Under Milk Wood, completed in 1953. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.