City Bound - London's Transport System During the War

Still from 'City Bound' - Taken from 'Films of Britain 1941'
'Between half past five and ten o'clock each morning five million people are moved from home to work by London's transport system. Before this can be done, underground and overground transport must be cleaned and refuelled. Then from the outer ring of London, past green fields and suburban gardens, the move into London begins. Trains, motor omnibuses, and electric trams bring hundreds of thousands into the centre of the city, to work in the shops, offices, and factories of the largest city in the world.' [1]

Date: 1941
Duration: 10:00

Director: Robin Carruthers
Production Company: Spectator Short Films
Producer: Ivan Scott
Cinematographer: W. Luff
Composer: C. Ridley
Narration: -
Editor: -
Sound Recording: William Bland

Length: 35mm: 1608ft. 16mm: 654ft.

Distributor: Denning Films Ltd. / M.G.M


The opening title cards state that this film began filming just as the London Blitz began, which suggests that filming began in September 1940.


City Bound is an exploration of the daily commute into London from the suburbs in 1941. Particular focus is paid to buses, trains and the underground network as British workers travel into the capital to begin a hard day at work. Taking in the architecture and busy atmosphere of several of the 246 tube stations present at the time, the film demonstrates that even during wartime the pace of life in London’s city centre does not falter.

Filmed after the start of The Blitz but with little visual reference to this, the piece is designed to show the prosperous nature of the British transport network, even in times of trouble. The film promotes the idea that no matter what is occurring, a great British ethos of hard work and community spirit remains. The film is desperately patriotic with romanticised images of people boarding buses to a chorus of I Vow to Thee thy Country! Several rather dubious claims are made during the piece, including a comment describing London as the ‘biggest city in the world’, a ploy designed to boost the profile of Britain and its stronghold on a global scale.

Certificate: U
Distributors: M.G.M.
Producers: Spectator Short Films
938ft / 10mins
A short on London's transport system, produced for distribution by the British Council.[2]
  1. ^ Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1941
  2. ^ Monthly Film Bulletin of the BFI
    Index to Vol.8 / No.s 85-96 [No.91 (p81) onwards present] / 1941-42
    Short Films Issued Between September 21 and October 20 [1941]
    139 City Bound