Thousands and thousands of new visitors have been rumagging through British Pathé’s 90,000 digitised newsreels after Tuesday’s brilliant discovery of a mobile phone from 1922. Eve’s Wireless became an online sensation, racking up hits for technology bloggers across the globe. Part of the excitement for us with such a colossal sized film archive, expecially one that has only just been fully launched to the general public, is that nobody knows exactly what’s in there. Not even the archivists!
Dozens of newsites and technology blogs rushed to tell their online communities about Eve’s Wireless resulting in a windfall of comments, Facebook wall posts and Tweets across the world.
You might like to read this information on the clip sent in from Simon Atkins an Ex-Royal Signals officer:
“The two ladies are using a small simple HF radio, probably a ‘Cat’s Whisker’ type. For it to work it needs to be earthed, which is why it’s connected to the fire hydrant. The antenna or aerial is the wire in the umbrella. On the receiving end the telephonist is using an HF radio and puts the microphone next to the record player. For the two ladies to hear she would be pressing the pressel switch.”
British Pathé are dependent on bloggers and journalists, particularly with knowledge in specialist areas, to find clips that are rare and special. Here in the archive we are eternally busy on our own projects. (For example this week, Wimbledon footage and great old Cricket matches on video – so look out for that)
We’re in a bit of a space age mood now, what with all this technology footage whizzing around the internet. Who else thinks it’s time to play a bit of System Addict by Five Star and have a groove? Just us? Ok.
Do you have a favourite clip in the archive? Perhaps related to you or your hobby? Make sure to tell us on Twitter or on our Facebook group ‘The British Pathe Film Archive’ and we’ll share the clip with our friends and followers.
As part of British Pathé’s ongoing project to build up its canister note information on certain areas of Britain, the Nottingham Evening Post wrote this brilliant piece today, highlighting some of our best clips relating to the area of Nottinghamshire. Honing in on a clip of Teddy Boys in the village of Sneinton, 1959, journalist Andy Smart asked readers if they could shine any light on the clip.
The video is one of our favourite 1950s pieces from the archive, it depicts a group of Teddy Boys who agree to clean their local church and attend evensong on the condition that the vicar lets the boys throw a dance party for their girlfriends in the vicarage! It’s incredible how good the boys are at dancing too. Of course these Teddy Boys look quite sweet and endearing to 12st century viewers, but in the 1950s they were actually quite a feared British subculture, lurking on street corners with a reputation of acting like mini gangsters. These Teddy Boys are clearly good natured though.
A certain Mrs Papworth has already been in touch with Nottingham Evening Post, as she recognised her two brothers-in-law posing amongst the group of Teddy Boys! In time British Pathé will update their canister notes so that this information is protected for the benefit of future generations, immortalisting those who were lucky enough to get caught on camera by British Pathé.
The Telegraph were the first national newspaper to write about British Pathé’s archive discovery of a newsreel called ‘Eve’s Wireless’ in which a prototype mobile phone is designed and seems to function in 1922. The Telegraph wrote about the clip in their online Techology section this morning.
We’re sure more newspapers and online magazines willl be covering the story shortly, as this video predates previous claims to the first mobile phones by abotu 80 years. It’s interesting to that it is women who feature in the video, both manning the operator room and standing out on the street trialling the phone. Judging by their beauty though we’re assuming for now that they were paid actresses or American models of the 1920s. If you have any information on this clip then please email British Pathé through their site.
The Grand Prix started in 1894, British Pathé started in 1897, and so naturally a strong media partnership evolved between the two companies. British Pathé were there on the side of the road filming the hottest Grand Prix races of the 20th century. British Pathé cameramen were at all the after parties too, talking to the it-girls as they swooned and crooned for a racing driver boyfriend, or even a Royal marriage. British Pathé were also sadly there to film the crashes, the flips, the Formula 1 knife edge between life and death when a strong swerve sent things spiralling out of control.
The popular British ventriloquist Ray Alan, most famous for his exceedingly posh and slightly peverse puppet Lord Charles, has died aged 79.
Ray Alan and his puppet Lord Charles used to star in the British Pathé travelogue series Britain By Jove, which is where this brilliant 1960s clip of Ray Alan on the beach comes from. We like the slightly abstract and unexplained lines like “Sorry dear, my monocle’s steamed over” during the night scenes onboard a boat in this clip.
The sincerity of Cavendish, considering he’s playing chauffeur to a puppet, is just brilliant. We’re not too sure about the little intermittent car horn peeps and the recurring union flags that punctuate the program, but televised serial sketch shows was still a relatively young genre in the 1960s.
One major area of the archive that we’re working on at the moment is tennis. After all, Wimbledon will soon be upon us and British Pathé are one of the only film archives to both own Wimbledon footage AND let the public watch it all for free online. We don’t see the point in being a dragon sat on a pile or reels, and so here you, have all of our Wimbledon videos and enjoy them with some strawberries and cream. To get you in the mood see our 1970s interview with tennis legend Fred Perry.
Fred Perry speaks in more gentrified and morose tone that I expected. He told British Pathe about himself –
“I was a strange breed of cat. I was a loner and if I may use such a word on television – I was bloody minded about the whole thing. I had won the Table Tennis Championship in 1929 in Budapest, and never played again. I said to myself ‘right from now on nothing I do will interfere with my tennis’. I played soccer and cricket at school, I was an even worse than bad wicket keeper, the ball was too hard. I started to play tennis, fiddling around in Ealing, and in 1929 I got into Wimbledon.
In the interview Fred Perry talks honestly about rivalry, bitching and the conflicts and injustice between private and state schools at a youth level. It really is an asset and a general strength of film archives, to present the public with interviews and insight into the lives of those who are no longer alive. Nothing beats hearing it from the sportsman’s mouth.
Fred Perry passed away in 1995. Read a bit about his life on his Wikipedia page here, including details of his celebrity relationships which boast a host of glamour actresses including Marlene Dietrich.
Long before Ronald Reagan became an emblem of 1980s world politics he was a Senator of California, and an actor before that. Reagan’s early years are naturally shadowed by his later prominence, but thankfully British Pathe were there to capture Reagan’s formative years on film.
Titled “Election Shocks” this British Pathe reel celebrates Ronald Reagan’s success in the 1966 election – “by a colossal million majority, the candidate is already spoken of as a Presidential candidate for next time”. This clip is also special as a historicak source in that it shows Edward Brooke laughing and waving as he is voted in to represent Massachusetts – “The first negro to win a seat there since the civil war”
Like Arnold Schwarzenegger today, Ronald Reagan became the Senator for California largely on the back of his celebrity and familiarity with the public. Whether this position will act as a middle ground too for Arnie between being an actor and a world leader remains to be seen. Reagan was clearly a presence amongst the American political ranks for a good couple of decades before his appointment as President. He is name-checked here in a video documenting the 1964 election. President Johnson makes a dramatic and enraged speech, and then the Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater makes a speech in a sold out Dodger’s Stadium. It’s interesting to learn that supporters bought tickets to hear Dodger talk.