Brian Parsons 2015

Independent researcher

‘Walk down any street’: A South London funeral in 1965

Until the 1980s, visual media coverage of funerals in the UK tended to be restricted to high-profile ceremonies. As far as can be ascertained, the first documentary that included an ‘ordinary’ funeral can be traced to ‘Walk Down Any Street.’ Made in 1965, this fly-on-the-wall production with minimal commentary was filmed in south-east London and captures a family during two contrasting rites of passage: a funeral and then a birthday. The film commences with the former and shows the family viewing the deceased in the home before the cortege leaves for the cemetery; a service in the chapel precedes the interment. A short introduction sets the context for the screening of the funeral part of this documentary. The paper will conclude with a number of observations.


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