“Vesuvius – Terror of Italy!”

Volcanoes never fail to make the news. These sleeping giants that populate various parts of the earth are dangerous, merciless and – despite advanced geology and knowledgeable modern-day volcanologists – their activity remains largely unpredictable.

British Pathé documented dozens of volcanic eruptions over the years, sending brave cameramen up the Martian terrain of these exploding beasts to capture priceless footage of lava flows and toxic ash. The clip above is some brilliant 1935 footage of Mount Vesuvius erupting.

The rather poetic narrator romanticises this famous volcano that gives “voice to the penned up energy of the powers of the earth”, and he continues to warn the viewers that “one false step means a dreadful death.” This footage is genuinely unique and yet only one clip amongst hundreds in the archive that relate to volcanoes. Expect more detailed volcano posts from us in future.  For now, you can see 12 archive videos of volcanic eruptions here on the British Pathé Film Archive

The Guardian’s bulletin on the current Icelandic saga

Taking in the toxic view

Author: British Pathé

British Pathé holds the world's finest newsreel collection. We also represent the Reuters historical collection. All 220K films are viewable on our website.

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