Films / Documentaries

During my time as a Grants Officer in the HLF London Team, I have seen lots of great films and documentaries created as part of HLF supported projects. I thought I would use the general forum to share one of my personal favourites!

It is an animated film created as part of a Crayford Town Archive’s project which explored the life of Admiral Cloudesley Shovell and how his death at sea instigated the longitude act.

To create this film, a professional animator worked with young school pupils to create pictures, cut-out figures and plasticine models. The final film can be found here and is a must see.

Do you have any project films or documentaries that you would like to share?

Please post below!

Also, please feel free to share any film-making tips / ideas!


Submitted by lorna.franklin… (not verified) on Mon, 10/26/2015 - 14:20


Hi Jamie,

Here is a link to a website we put together as part of our WW1 Centenary Young Roots project ENtrenchED. There is a documentary on the first page that gives an overview of the projects. We find documentaries a brilliant way to document the young people's progress throughout the project and it's a lovely thing for them to be able to keep a copy of it to remember the project.


Submitted by joseph.minden@… (not verified) on Mon, 10/26/2015 - 15:43


Thanks for sharing this Lorna!

Including films or documentaries in projects can be a really great way of giving participants the chance to develop both heritage skills, in researching and exploring the subject, and the transferable skills involved in creating afilm.

One of my favourite project documentaries came from Beat Routes' Young Roots project, Project Rewind, which gave young people in Slought the chance to explore the history of recording music. Not only is there a documentary, but a playlist of the quality songs written and recorded by the young people too:

It's really great to see the varied results of different projects!


Submitted by bryan@mylifemy… (not verified) on Tue, 10/27/2015 - 09:23


Hi everyone,

Here's a link to our user-led film  - Speaking up, speaking out, speaking easy - which was funded by the Heritage Lottery. It tells the history of self-advocacy in Oxfordshire through our members with with learning disabilities telling their stories alongside professionals and politicians.

Submitted by jeniburnell@gm… (not verified) on Tue, 10/27/2015 - 14:23


Hello All, 

This summer I worked with filmmakers, StoryWorks UK, in the Blackbird and Greater Leys neighbourhoods in Oxford. We were recording local people’s stories, past and present, to create this series of digital stories that share the unique heritage and character of the estate. 

A digital story is a short film approximately 2-3 minutes long told in the first person that, when combined with photographs and video footage, shares personal insights about people and their life experiences. 

As many of you will know, storytelling projects are a great way for people to tell their story in their own words. The stories shared in the Leys have been fascinating. Many of the people we spoke with have lived on the estate since it was built. They talk about working at the nearby Morris Motors and Pressed Steel factories and of the estate's active social life. This includes the  'Qualiday' celebrations, that once took place at the Blackbird Leys Community Centre, and, more recently, the 'Singing Estates' project with conductor, Ivor Setterfield. 

It has been a privilege hearing people’s stories from the Leys and I am incredibly grateful for the time and generosity of  those who have contributed  project.  Film-making is definately a great way of celebrating an area's unique contribution and cultural heritage.

I hope you enjoy! 


Submitted by sav@digital-wo… (not verified) on Tue, 11/10/2015 - 14:24


Thanks Jamie,

We were also involved in the Admiral Cloudesley Shovell project. We worked with a young dance troupe on the filmed documentary which uses Shovell's story as a catalyst for the Longitude Act and Harrison's search for a timepiece that can tell the time at sea. By interviewing Actors in role, historians and museum curators the children came up with a really fascinating documentary. As usual the young people picked up how to use the cameras and sound and how to conduct a good interview effortlessly. We should never forget the generosity of heritage organisations like the Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum that makes these docs possible.

Submitted by sally@pipocapi… (not verified) on Fri, 11/13/2015 - 16:35


Hello all

I'm working on the release of a feature length documentary entitled NG83 - When We Were B Boys. 

It's a humorous and poignant film about how teenage obsessions shape the rest of our lives and tells the stories of five inner city youths whose lives were linked through music and dance during the 1980s.

The characters reflect on how the Hip Hop/B Boy scene allowed them to escape the confines of life on Nottingham's council estates. But the fierce rivalry and wild energy of the scene eventually burned out as changing times caused their dreams to crash.

Then an unexpected tragedy leads to a reunion that gives them one last chance to recapture the past…

Containing previously unseen archive footage, NG83: When We Were B Boys is the first ever feature documentary to look at the 1980s UK B Boy scene.

We aim to release the film next spring! In the meantime please join our Facebook page for news and updates and thanks so much for reading! 

NG83 Documentary on Facebook


Submitted by lizzie@lizzieb… (not verified) on Mon, 05/23/2016 - 11:31


Hello all, Here is a film made a saprt of an HLF project in 2010 about the Tiners Way in Cornwall.

 We made four films and this is one of them. We showcased them at Geevor Tin Mine.

Lizzie Black (Tough Dough)



Submitted by (not verified) on Thu, 06/09/2016 - 14:07


Hi all, 

We thought we'd share with you guys some of the progress Your Helping Hands has been making with our documentary outputs. 

The video we're sharing here is of Mr Tarsem Singh Sandhu, giving an oral history of his experiences of life in Wolverhampton and the ban on beards and turbans enforced by Wolverhampton Trasnport during the late 1960s. During the running of this project, YHH managed to find a contact for Mr Sandhu and he agreed to give us his own account, making for a truly unique project. 

Moving on from this, we would like to share some information on how this project is moving forwards. We will be using oral histories such as this one, plus others (from members of our local community centre and volunteers and curators from museums, National Trust and English Heritage locations around the country, among others) and even scripts made from Express & Star interviews and opinion pieces, in order to create an oral history documentary, We are also very lucky to have the support and guidance of Mr Shinder S Thandi, an historian and author who specialises in Sikh history and British history. 

If anybody would like to know more about the documentary, or project, or has any suggestions or guidance then please let us know. Similarly, if anyone is thinking about creating something along these lines themselves and would like any information about how we got to this point, don't hesitate to ask!

Robert Jones, Your Helping Hands.

Submitted by Amy Freeborn (not verified) on Thu, 06/09/2016 - 15:22


Thank you everyone for sharing - there's some really impressive and interesting stuff here!