The Green Girdle - London's Great Outdoors

'London is surrounded on all sides by open spaces - common lands, in the shape of parks, hills, and forests which can never be built upon. This belt of green around the Metropolis is at every point within reach of the city's centre by omnibus. From its busy streets and workplaces the Londoners go out into the lovely woods, the great expanse of furze and scrub, the sloping green terraces and the sweeping hillsides in pursuit of health and recreation. Some walk, some ride, some picnic, others study at first hand the wild life of birds, beasts and plants.'[1]

Date: 1941
Duration: 09:29

In Technicolor .
Director: Ralph Keene
Production Company: Strand Film Company
Producer: Basil Wright
Cinematographer: Jack Cardiff
Composer:Richard Addinsell/William Alwyn*, & Muir Mathieson
Narration: Bruce Belfrage, & Robert MacDermot
Editor (supervising): Michael Gordon
Sound Recording: Al Rhind

Length: 35mm: 919ft. 16mm: 368ft.


*The individual accredited with the composition of the musical score is not conclusive due to a dispute over copyright that occurred during production.

Further Information
Monochrome still from 'The Green Girdle' - Taken from 'Films of Britain 1946'


An unusual combination of nature documentary and wartime propaganda, The Green Girdle escapes from the austere urban landscape of inner city London and savours the natural delights of the capital city’s rural surroundings. In a bid to encourage city dwellers to leave behind the restrictions of war and enjoy a taste of the English countryside, the film delivers a beautiful and poetic snapshot of nature in its entire Technicolor splendor.

Similar to many of the British Council films produced during wartime, The Green Girdle’s intended effect was to boost national morale within Britain. We spend time with families and couples alike on leisurely excursions through green belt areas such as Wimbledon Common, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Box Hill and Ivinghoe Beacon, all of which provide testament to Britain as a nation truly worth fighting for.
Whilst the film suggests a moment of relief and a welcome distraction from the horrors of war for the British citizen, a final triumphant implication hints that upon the return to the everyday struggle of life a sense of rejuvenation will be instilled and an urge to fight on will be renewed.

Monochrome still from 'The Green Girdle' - Taken from 'Films of Britain 1947-50'

Green Girdle
Certificate: U
Distributors: M.G.M.
Producers: Strand
919ft / 10mins
A short film in Technicolor of beauty spots available to the public within the outer circle of London. [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 July 17 and August 20 [1941]
    106 Green Girdle