The collection includes classics such as Nightmail (1936), which perhaps best exemplifies how British industry supported leading artists in the pre-television age, drawing as it does on the combined talents of Basil Wright and Harry Watt, alongside WH Auden, Benjamin Britten, John Grierson and Stuart Legg.
Despite the fact that the GPO Film Unit was set up to produce fully-funded sponsored films, the film-makers found space to develop and experiment within these constraints. Films such as Housing Problems, Workers and Jobs and Coal Face focus on some of the social issues facing a rapidly changing Britain in the 1930s, while Len Lye’s Colour Box is unashamedly experimental and only very nominally an advertisement for the GPO’s parcel post.
The collection covers subjects ranging across transport and communications in Britain and abroad; the home front during the Second World War, British industries, from fishing to mining, the nation’s health – and developments in the Post Office service itself.
To view the collection visit JISC MediaHub