History of St Albans captured on film

PUBLISHED: 10:33 27 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 06 May 2010

The poster for Hand in Hand

The poster for Hand in Hand

A FILM largely shot around St Albans nearly 50 years ago providing a fascinating cinematic record of the way the city was then has been tracked down by a local enthusiast. Musician and songwriter Pete Water s interest in the film was first whetted in the

A FILM largely shot around St Albans nearly 50 years ago providing a fascinating cinematic record of the way the city was then has been tracked down by a local enthusiast.

Musician and songwriter Pete Water's interest in the film was first whetted in the early 70s when he saw a clip of Hand in Hand and recognised his old school playground.

Pete, 50, of Cell Barnes Lane, St Albans, said: "I went to Pemberton School which used to be on Hatfield Road near the pub formerly known as The Blacksmith's Arms. Some of the old school building is still there at the back of Oaklands College but most of it was demolished around 1970 and the school became Maple School.

"I did not know anything about the film's title but I had an idea of the basic storyline. A couple of years ago after doing lots of research on the internet I found out the film's details but could not get a copy anywhere.

"To cut a long story short I eventually got a copy through a specialist film locating company in Hollywood. When I eventually saw the whole film it transpired that much of it was filmed in St Albans. I have never met anyone else who is aware of this film. As well as being a beautiful film it gives a unique glimpse of St Albans nearly 50 years ago."

Among the places featured in the film are St Michael's Village, Fishpool Street, French Row, Pemberton School hall and its playground, Abbey View Road, St Peter's Street (outside The Blacksmith's Arms), Market Place, Sopwell Lane and Bluehouse Hill,

The film won 14 international film awards including a special Golden Globe award for Best Film Promoting International Understanding.

It starred Dame Sybil Thorndyke, Miriam Karlin and British child actors Philip Needs and Loretta Parry as two young friends who almost become divided by their disparate religious backgrounds but go on to forge a strong bond almost severed by tragedy.

Pete paid for DVDs of the film - some of which he has distributed to the museum for their archives as showing rare footage of a time gone by.

He is hoping that a local showing can be arranged so that people can see how different St Albans looked in those days.

He would also love to hear from anyone who knows anything about the film or may even have appeared in it as an extra.

Pete can be contacted on pwaters623@btinternet.com


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