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Dylan Thomas
Narration to the recently-discovered film
 real 28k

Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 12:53 GMT
Rare Dylan Thomas film found
Dylan Thomas
The unknown film was discovered by accident
A long-lost cinematic treasure has been unearthed by researchers delving into the history of a housing trust.

Among a collection of old films was one written and narrated by one of Britain's greatest poets, Dylan Thomas.

His unmistakable voice can be heard on the film's soundtrack for the first time in more than half a century.

Thomas wrote and narrated the wartime propaganda film to highlight the poor conditions endured by ordinary people in Birmingham.

George Cadbury
George Cadbury: Founded Bournville in 1879
But no one knew it existed, until it was discovered by film-makers researching the history of Birmingham's Bournville Village Trust.

It was the purpose-built houses at Bournville that Thomas used as a contrast to the appalling slums of Birmingham.

The houses were first built in 1879, when the George Cadbury - a member of the family famous for making cocoa powder and chocolate - bought a 15-acre site four miles outside of Birmingham.

The factory built there was named Bournville after the name of the small stream that ran through the site.

Bournville was an attractive area and it became known as the "factory in a garden".

At first Cadbury built 24 houses for their key workers at Bournville. Another 300 homes were later built to form Bournville Village.

Call for change

These houses were superior to working class homes of that time, with larger rooms and generous sized gardens.

Another innovation was to group the houses around cul-de-sacs or gardens.

A school, hospital, reading rooms and wash-houses were also built for the people in the village.

Very different to the oppressive conditions of the nearby metropolis.

But Dylan Thomas's calls for social change are still resonating nearly 50 years after his death.

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See also:

28 Jul 98 | Entertainment
Why did Dylan Thomas die so young?
01 Jan 00 | Wales
Poet Dylan leads arts field
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