Hayes And Harlington: At Your Service

By Lindsey Last edited 85 months ago
Hayes And Harlington: At Your Service

Before Hillingdon became an outer borough in 1965, Hayes and Harlington had its own Urban District Council. This (award-winning) quirky public information film — with wonky credits — of 1962 explains what services the council provides. To make it more interesting, the film is dramatised, featuring actors from the Janus Players, the local am-dram company, and here's the plot.

Local resident and street cleaner, Mr Barrow receives his rate bill from the town hall (in the same delivery as a gratuitous naughty postcard) and flips his lid about being charged £16 and 6s. He drags Mrs Barrow away from the washing up — "Git yer 'at and coat on" — and marches down the town hall to have it out with them.

A beautifully patient and well-spoken council spokesperson sits them in his plush office. While Mr Barrow lights up a fag, he details how the council looks after lighting up the area (see what they did there?) along with refuse collection, parks, sport facilities, toy recycling, the Fire Brigade, pest control and public health.

The Barrows sheepishly excuse themselves, satisfied at this panoply of good works and pay the bill but even once they've departed, the council official ruefully remarks how he didn't even get round to mentioning education and schools, housing, planning, libraries, health and old people's services.

In the closing frames, Mr and Mrs Barrow leave the Town Hall as the voice of the council states its commitment to providing the best and most modern services to the 'townspeople' and ends on the district's rousing, one-word motto, "Forward!"

This film is from Hillingdon local studies, archives and museum service. Find more vintage local London film at London’s Screen Archives.

Last Updated 22 April 2015