Public Information Films
About Public Information Films | About this exhibition | Copyright

About Public Information Films

For the first time on The National Archives' website and BFI Media Player you can view public information films from 1945-2006. Joining with the Central Office of Information (COI) to celebrate their 60th Anniversary, we have featured a selection of some of the most memorable and influential COI public information films covering fascinating events from British post-war history.


About COI

The Central Office of Information, COI, is the centre of marketing excellence for the government. It provides consultancy, procurement and project management for public information campaigns. The Central Office of Information was established in 1946, when the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, announced that the wartime Ministry of Information would be closed down, but that official information services still had, ‘an important and permanent part in the machinery of government’ and that ‘the public should be adequately informed about the many matters in which Government action directly impinges on their daily lives’.
The COI produce a wide range of information campaigns designed to inform the public on a huge range of issues which affect their daily lives, such as health, welfare, education and rights. This year marks the COI’s sixtieth anniversary, and celebrates the work carried out on thousands of groundbreaking projects that have helped to shape attitudes and change public conduct, as well as providing citizens with important information. The COI's vast archive of work provides unique historical insight into culture and innovation, from dealing with the issues of post-war Britain right up to the innovative campaigns of today. This is particularly notable in the COI’s responsibility for making and distributing information films for the public. These have provided information and influenced behaviour since the end of the Second World War.