They Don’t Write ‘Em Like That Anymore

I’ve spent a fair chunk of the night hunting for a new topic for my research paper for a course in modern British cultural history this semester and stumbled on a plethora of public information films produced between 1945 and 2006. These proto-PSAs, covering everything from the institution of the National Health Service to the dangers of taking more than a five-pound note overseas, are some of the most entertaining pieces of cultural documentation I’ve seen. So, for your own viewing pleasure:

And…

The National Archives also provides access to dozens of public information films, a number of which were animated and produced by Halas and Batchelor, the same duo responsible for Animal Farm. My personal favorites though are the bizarre and darkly humorous pieces featuring Richard Massingham, such as “Coughs and Sneezes.” Contemporary PSAs seems so deadly serious next to these cultural artifacts, but perhaps that is a matter of retrospect.

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