Empire in Britain

In the rhetoric of Empire, Great Britain was the ‘Mother Country’: the ideological, economic and geographical reference point against which life in the colonies was to be measured. Many of these films attempt to show British life to colonial audiences, and often use the device of positioning a colonial subject in Britain. The visitor often plays the role of either a spellbound tourist made welcome in the heart of Empire, or alternatively as an Imperial citizen, warmly embraced within British society. Wartime films typically highlight the contribution made by colonial subjects to the war effort in Britain, and whether they are for British or colonial audiences, these pictures too hope to present the metropole as a welcoming place that appreciates and accepts the people of the Empire.

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ROLLICKING RAJAH (1914) enhanced entry

Title card: "Vivaphone" Film. Title card: 'The Rollicking Rajah'. First verse and chorus of 'The Rolling Rajah'. The film set ...


SPOTLIGHT ON THE COLONIES (1950)has video enhanced entry

"This is a brief survey of progress made by the British Government in helping forty separate colonial territories to raise ...


SPRINGTIME IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGE (1944)has video enhanced entry

A young African girl is crowned the May Queen in the village of Stanion, Northamptonshire.

The film opens with shots of ...


VICTORY PARADE (1946) enhanced entry

Colonial troops in England for the Victory Parade on 8 June 1946.

Colonial troops arrive in Britain for the Victory Parade. ...


WEST INDIES CALLING (1943)has video enhanced entry

Film records and illustrates a BBC broadcast by West Indians in Britain to explain to the British people ...