How We Used to Live, Rare Footage Drawn from the BFI National Archive

How We Used To Live is a celebration of post-war London on film. Directed by Paul Kelly using footage from the BFI National Archive and accompanied by a score composed by Saint Etienne’s Pete Wiggs with narration from Ian McShane. What is presented is a montage of sound and moving image, which looks at city life in post war Britain and how modern London has been created.

Screening at cinemas nationwide across June to September and with special screenings at Sheffield Doc/Fest this weekend the images include an ever changing London that some who stays the same. Featuring the night life and traffic jams, the cutting edge fashion and the housing issues to London’s music, pubs and cafés.

“Whenever you go down the roads in Britain you travel not in three dimensions, but in four. The Fourth dimension is the past”

Showed in colour, the footage is from 1950 – 1980 and looks at the beginnings of the welfare state and the sequence change with the Margaret Thatcher government. It uniquely looks at the past through the eyes of the 21st century perspective. It mixes fact with fiction and follows the narrator voiced by McShane’s whose only constant in his life is London.

How We Used To Live can be see across the country in variety of venues including Edinburgh Cameo, York Picturehouse/City Screen, Bath Little Theatre Cinema and Southampton Harbour Lights Picturehouse. Premiered at the London Film Festival in 2013 , this latest collaboration between Paul Kelly and Saint Etienne, How We Used to Live can be seen as a prequel to their first 2003 documentary, Finisterre, and was recently released with their subsequent films (What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day? and This is Tomorrow) on DVD by the BFI entitled A London Trilogy.

For more information about The London Trilogy and How We Used to Live please see

1. Trailer for How We Used to Live. Courtesy of the filmmakers.