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Kensington Calling (1930)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Drawings of rural Kensington scenes in 1830 are contrasted with views of the same locations in 1930, by now streets of terraced houses. An intertitle declares that the housing conditions "deprive inhabitants of a fair chance of health." A nurse holds a baby with very thin legs, lying passively.

"But can you guess how many persons live in this house?" From a jumble of animated numbers different figures emerge, rising to 48. A cross-section of the three-storey house shows up to six people in each room. A woman cleans the floor of a cramped room and washes up in a tin tub. She then baths her baby in the same tub while a toddler plays on the floor at her feet.

The single tap in the stairwell of the house. A dead rat held up by its tail. "With no cupboards and no cooking range the ill-housed housewife relies on these -"A bin-full of empty food cans. "Extravagant? Yes! But what can she do?"

An intertitle appeals for funds to help provide alternative housing for the mothers of the future. A new family arrives at Crosfield House, a low-rise block of flats. "An excited child asks 'Are all these rooms ours, Mummy?'"

Building work in progress on a new block of flats. A hod of bricks marked 'Donation' - "If this is too heavy for you - Try this" Some bricks disappear. "And help erase these blots on the honour of our Borough."