The Heart of an Empire - St. James's Park, and the Interesting Buildings that Surround it

'In the shadow of Westminster, St. James’s Park stands surrounded by the key buildings of the Empire: the Foreign Office, where experts have their fingers on the pulse of world affairs; the Admiralty, in touch with British ships throughout the world; the War Office, where the general staff directs British troops in every part of the Empire; Downing Street, which has been called the smallest yet the greatest street in the world. Also overlooking the Park is St. James’s Palace, designed by Henry VIII for Anne Boleyn, and the home of the Royal Family for over 300 years. The Royal Residence is now changed to Buckingham Palace at the other end of the Mall, where crowds gather every day to watch the coming and going of the Royal Family. Here, too, on a June morning, begins the most brilliant of London’s pageants–the Trooping of the Colour. In its conclusion this film shows the glittering cavalcade as it sets out for the Horse Guards Parade, the ancient tilting ground of the Kings of England.' [1]

Date: 1935
Duration: 07:23

Director: Donald Taylor
Production Company: Strand Film
Producer: Marion Grierson
Cinematographer: -
Composer: -
Narration: Laurence Gilliam
Editor: -
Sound Recording: -
Assistant Director: Alexander Shaw
Music Played by: Band of the 43rd Light Infantry
Conductor: D.J. Plater

Length: 35mm: 728ft. 16mm: 310ft.


A TIDA film.

The film focuses on the urban landscape of the country’s capital city with a particular emphasis on famous historical landmarks, including some of the buildings that surround the headquarters of the British Council.

As the title suggests, this film gloriously frames the city of London, and all of its bustling activity, as The Heart of an Empire. Littered with iconic urban imagery, such as Downing Street and No. 10, Buckingham Palace and Carlton House Terraces, the film visually depicts the workings of the city and how each separate element comes together to form the empire’s nexus. The film discusses British heritage but also refers to the many different dominions of the empire at the time; offering footage of their London buildings. As the narrator states, these dominions are also represented in London by their goods and commodities, which are imported and marketed. In addition, the film documents the King’s Birthday Parade of the mid 1930s, boasting footage of the Red London Guards at the ceremony. The film drives home the notion that at The Heart of an Empire the British people really have their “fingers on the pulse of world affairs”.

More information can be found on this film at the Colonial film website HERE.
  1. ^ Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1940