A Royal Honeymoon Location

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip honeymooning in Hampshire

Royal Honeymoons often occur where you least expect them, as the British Pathe archive demonstrates…

Everyone is speculating over where Prince William and Catherine Middleton (Wales), now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are spending their honeymoon. In solving a royal honeymoon riddle it is important to think outside the royal box –  and perhaps footage from the British Pathe archive can help us:

A lot of Londoners suspect Will and Kate to have borrowed a home (or indeed an island) off one of their high flying friends. Just glancing at the wedding guests, Elton John, Richard Branson, David Beckham, – a whole host of people who own luxury homes and mini resorts abroad. But what if Will and Kate pulled the ultimate red herring and took a helicopter ride out into the deepest English countryside…

In this great British Pathe reel below we see crowds and press gather around Princess Elizabeth (The Queen) and Prince Philip as they leave Romsey Abbey to depart together on their honeymoon.

In the clip the narrator declares “At the 1000 year old abbey 10,000 people stood on chairs and climbed churchyard trees to get a glimpse of the princess and the duke. Penned-in by well-wishers the royal car had great difficulty in getting back to Broadlands the honeymoon retreat of the royal pair”

The clip shows Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip roaming around Broadlands, the Home of Earl and Countess Mountbatten, where they spent the first section of their honeymoon. Princess Elizabeth is depicted flicking through the first photos of the wedding whilst Prince Philip gives Pathé the first official flash of his wedding ring.


 We were surprised to learn that the couple had to attend morning service at Romsey Abbey directly following the Royal Wedding day! Quite a different world to the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton at which Prince Harry allegedly made bacon and cheese sandwiches for guests who partied until 6am, and after which the happy couple left in a helicopter! Clearly the austerity wedding of 1947 had a tighter belt than the recession wedding of 2011.

Even in the 1940s the Royal Family had become aware of the media’s gaze, as the Pathé narrator tells us – “The second part of their honeymoon will be spent in Scotland and so for a while Pathé News will respect their desire for the seclusion they have so well earned”

It’s interesting how stately homes in and around the UK were popular as a royal honeymoon destination. Here the Duke of Kent, Prince George is videoed on his honeymoon with Princess Marina at Himley Hall in Worcestershire:


Princess Margaret was one of the first high-profile Royals to have an exotic honeymoon that was televised. In 1960 she chose to tour the Caribbean on the Royal Yacht with Anthony Armstrong-Jones. Pathé went along too and captured the trail of their honeymoon on camera:


Did you know: The Japanese Prince Takamatsu took his honeymoon in England in 1930? Here is the Pathé newsreel of it, called BANZAI !

 Broadlands House is currently undergoing a major electrical refurbishment but should be open to the public again in time for the Olympics next summer: http://www.broadlandsestates.co.uk/


1906 San Francisco Earthquake Video: Rare 1906 newsreel in the British Pathe archive shows footage of San Fran in ruins.


Today is the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and remarkably, despite the earthquake being over 100 years ago, we have found video footage of the events in the British Pathé film archive:


An emergency food tent is erected to feed those affected by the San Francisco earthquake in 1906

The astonishing footage of the San Francisco earthquake is from British Pathé’s Pinewood vaults, it depicts the flattened streets and mass destruction in the aftermath immediately following the earthquake, with a dramatic newsreel ‘finale’ in which a large building collapses.

The rare newsreel shows American firemen typical of the turn of the 20th century, trying to put out fires in the rubble with hoses. Large emergency tents are erected for nursing and providing food to those who were made homeless by the earthquake. If you have any information on this clip then please let the archive know, find them on their Facebook page ‘The British Pathé Film Archive’. They are also on Twitter @BritishPathe

This video is taken from 90,000 archived newsreels that are now available and accessible to the public in the online archive www.britishpathe.com

Yuri Gagarin Videos: Unissued Russian Reels

Yuri Gagarin prior to take-off


Today Google has a special ‘Google doodle’ to commemorate Yuri Gagarin, the first ever man in space. The British Pathé archive has great footage of Yuri Gagarin:

First there is this unissued colour footage of Yuri prior launch, smiling, being escorted to the launch pad and going up in the transfer coach (which looks a bit like a Doctor Who tardis!)

Yuri Gagarin’s funeral in Moscow. This 1968 newsreel shows the Soviet army filing past an urn of Yuri’s ashes, whilst his widow Valentina and family look on in mourning. We see close-up footage of President Leonid Brezhnev and Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin.

Yuri Gagarin receives special honours at the UNESCO head-quarters, in Paris (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). See how Yuri is mobbed by autograph hunters, the most popular celebrity-mad hobby of the day before digital cameras and iPhones! 

And then for even more Yuri Gagarin video (it seems Pathé followed Yuri on his 1961 world tour!)

Yuri Gagarin visits England (1961) – Including a visit to Manchester, a tour of the Tower of London, and a trip to Buckingham Palace!

Yuri Gagarin in Budapest, (1961)- Yuri is kissed by crowds of Hungarian girls and presented with flowers!

Yuri Gagarin visiting Cyprus (in 1962) to the city. Yuri meets the archbishop in Cyprus and waves to vast crowds in Limasol, receiving the keys to the city.

There are of course more videos of Yuri Gagarin in the online archive, including Russian documentaries. Visit www.britishpathe.com

To discuss our Yuri Gagarin clips, find us on Facebook – search for ‘The British Pathe Film Archive’, or chat to us on Twitter @BritishPathe

Marilyn Monroe: A Queen in her Own Realm

Marilyn sings to troop in Korea

Author Tara Hanks writes on British Pathé’s footage of Marilyn Monroe and the story behind it…

Marilyn Monroe was one of the most-photographed women of the last century. Beyond her acting roles, however, footage of the legendary star is fairly thin on the ground. During the 1950s, when her career soared, television was still a new medium. Her occasional public appearances, at press conferences and glittering premieres, were chronicled by newsreel-makers like Pathé, and shown in cinemas worldwide. 

‘Marilyn Monroe in Korea’ was filmed in March 1954, near the end of the four-year conflict. Monroe interrupted her honeymoon in Japan with Joe DiMaggio to entertain US troops. Standing on an outdoor stage before 10,000 fellow Americans, she quipped, ‘I never saw so many men in my whole life!’ ‘Film Fanfare’ featured the celebrity news of the day, though its reverential tone is world away from today’s gossip websites. Monroe’s arrival in Britain in the summer of 1956, to film The Prince and the Showgirl, with Sir Laurence Olivier, provoked intense media coverage.

Though some found Monroe too ‘aloof’, Pathé gave her a warm welcome. ‘We were delighted by the quickness and the mind and her intelligence,’ reporter John Parsons commented after a press conference at London’s Savoy Hotel. He was filmed in conversation with Marilyn, but unfortunately, the footage is mute. The fanfare surrounding Marilyn’s stay in Britain took Bob Stanage, publicity director for Warner Brothers, by storm. She attracted huge crowds wherever she went, adding a touch of authentic Hollywood glamour to a country steeped in a post-war ‘age of austerity.’

Earl Wilson, an American columnist who first encountered Marilyn in 1949, also attended the meeting at the Savoy. Interviewed by Parsons, he noted the formality of the British press, in contrast to the USA. In England, Marilyn was seated apart from journalists and politely applauded. Her co-star, Olivier, had been startled by the rowdiness of a previous events in New York. He asked Marilyn, ‘Are they always like this?’, to which she replied wryly, ‘Well, this is a little quieter than some of them.’ As part of the build-up to The Prince and the Showgirl – produced by Marilyn’s newly-formed, independent company – Hollywood mogul Jack Warner gave her the keys to his studio.

Jack Warner presents a Warner Bros. badge to Marilyn

Despite her apparent mastery of publicity, Earl Wilson remembered the younger Marilyn as ‘shy’, even ‘wooden’, but he soon warmed to her ‘honest, direct’ manner. Recalling a trip to a bookstore frequented by Marilyn, Wilson said the manageress had observed, ‘You can never tell what’s under a head, just because it’s bleached.’

Monroe had flown to England with her third husband, playwright Arthur Miller. ‘A marriage of brains and beauty,’ a narrator remarked as they arrived at London Airport. ‘But don’t let anyone tell you Arthur’s got all the brains!’

Weeks before, the newlyweds had been filmed at Miller’s farmhouse in Connecticut. During the rush to the countryside, one journalist had been killed in a car crash. Understandably, Marilyn seemed pale and nervous that day, clinging to Arthur and seeking his approval as she answered questions about their honeymoon plans.  

During her time in Britain, Monroe met Queen Elizabeth II at a Royal Command Performance. Both women had celebrated their thirtieth birthdays in 1956, and together they seem to epitomise different ideals of femininity. In a tribute reel made after Marilyn’s death, a narrator comments, ‘She was a queen in her own realm…the world lost something radiant when she took her leave of us.’

Monroe’s impact can also be felt in other Pathé newsreels, including ‘This Light Must Not Go Out,’ a public information short from 1957, urging Anthony Eden’s government to reduce taxation on the film industry.

In later years, Marilyn would be glimpsed at other events, both public and personal: whether shaking hands with a security guard before being introduced to President Khrushchev, during his visit to Hollywood in 1959: or attending the christening of John Clark Gable in 1961, clad in black – in memory of the baby’s father, and ‘King of Hollywood’, Clark Gable – who had died months earlier, after starring with Monroe in The Misfits, which would also be her final appearance on the big screen.

Monroe memorabilia is now a lucrative industry. Rumoured ‘sex tapes’ have repeatedly been discredited, but last year a short clip of Monroe sharing a cigarette with friends became an internet sensation, leading to speculation that she was smoking a ‘joint’ – although closer examination may suggest otherwise.

But the rarest films of all have resurfaced via the auction circuit – a star off-duty, playing golf, shopping in New York, sightseeing in Mexico. Or else the young, brunette Norma Jeane, performing cartwheels on a Californian beach. These shaky home movies, made in colour, remind us of a lovely, eternally young woman behind the dazzling façade.

Tara Hanks is the author of two books, The Mmm Girl and Wicked Baby. Find more blog posts from her on all sorts of topical and timely subjects on www.tarahanks.com




We’re looking for guest bloggers to write pieces for this British Pathé archive blog! Over the last year this blog has dipped its toe into all sorts of areas – whether it be 1960s bunny girls, speeches by King George VI, travelogues in Baghdad or our favourite black and white Oscar ceremonies – with over 90,000 newsreels in the British Pathé archive there are all sorts of topics.

It’s got to the stage now where we’d love some fresh ideas from people with interests that are different to our own (we’ve done a lot of quirky showbiz posts, how about some more academic posts? Although more showbiz is always good – everyone has their own take on celebrity!)

Perhaps you’d like to take a modern day TV show or piece of pop culture and compare it to clips in the archive, showing how it owes something to the past.

Perhaps you’d like to hone in on your specialist subject, be that butterflies, lifeguards or snooker.

Simply write 350 to 800 words on your topic, with links to the clips from British Pathé that it discusses or mentions, and email it to Jack on jcullen@britishpathe.com We’ll sort out stills to accompany the piece and publish it on our blog!

If you’re not sure whether your idea for a blog post will work then please send us a quick email first and we’ll let you know!

We cannot pay people to write on this blog, but we can share your piece with friends of the archive on Facebook, Twitter and through our internal mailing list, a total audience of about 6,000 people.  This might be ideal for people who love archive film, don’t want the laborious task of keeping their own blog, but occasionally feel like writing something!

We can also have a link in the blog post to your own website, fanzine or Twitter page.

All the best,

The British Pathé Blog

Japan: A Nuclear History

The Japanese shelter themselves from deady nuclear rain in 1957

As Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan gravely admits that this is the time of greatest hardship for the Japanese since World War II,  a sizeable part of the British media has focused its coverage on the growing nuclear crisis as two Japanese reactors’ cooling systems have failed, leaving both in danger of melting down, and severe hydrogen explosions occurring over the weekend.

So what is Japan’s history and story when it comes to nuclear energy?

The British Pathé film archive has a lot of footage related to the part that Japan played in the Atomic Age. We thought these reels would interest you, including a Japanese prime minister Kishi being shown around a British nuclear plant in the 1950s.


This 1957 newsreel shows 15,000 Japanese students protesting after warm acid rain strikes Tokyo following a nuclear explosion. It isn’t clear who the ‘culprits’ are of these nuclear explosions, with some confusion between Russian nuclear tests, American nuclear tests and British hydrogen bomb research taking place in the Pacific.

The British Pathé narrator suggests the Japanese protest against the British embassy is ludicrous on account for the British nuclear tests occurring over 4000 miles away from Japan.


“A small but noisy group of left wing students. The mob numbers less than 60 but they are a kingsize headache to Japanese authorities because of their fanatic leftwing zeal” The demonstration took place outside the American Embassy in Tokyo, and was against President Kennedy’s decision to continue nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean.

This 1959 video shows the then Japanese president Nobusuke Kishi visiting the then half-built nuclear site in Bradwell, Essex, a British nuclear power station.


Washington marks the 20th anniversary of the nuclear age. An atom fair in the clip focuses on the positive uses of atomic energy. President John F. Kennedy is presented with a cube of uranium. The clip also shows how “large scale earth moving by nuclear explosion is a major part of Operation Plowshare, the AEC program for developing peaceful application of this overwhelming force.”

Operation Plowshare stopped in 1973, after over twenty nuclear tests had been carried out in the Nevada dessert. These tests where in addition to nuclear weapons tests carried out by America during the same period.

This 1957 video shows men on the Yucca Flats in the Nevada dessert conducting a nuclear test.


This 1962 newsreel focuses on the construction of British atomic power stations, such as Bradwell in Essex. The shots inside the power station are great, including the magazine loading stage.


This video takes us inside a 1960s nuclear shelter in Maryland

Do have a rummage on www.britishpathe.com for more newsreels and archived videos, including out of space nuclear weapons, nuclear submarines, nuclear energy plants in France, Holland, Russia, America and of course Britain and dramatic nuclear air raid drills.

MODE magazine’s Rulebook for Men makes sense to the British Pathé film archive

MODE magazine by Shortlist

Today one of our archivist’s turned up at work with a magazine called MODE, by the people who make Shortlist, one of those trendy free mags that they distribute outside tube stations. We’re not sure how new MODE is, but it’s quite a good read with some interesting pieces on, surprisingly, the history of mens fashion.

One feature was a numerical list of this season’s ‘rulebook’ for mens fashion. We were interested to note how quite a few of the items on the list took inspiration from events and occurrences that happened within the age range of the British Pathé archive (1897-1977), and so on our lunch break today we decided to see if we could dig out some good relevant material.

1. The Playboy Club Returns to London

Number One on MODE’s list took direct inspiration from London’s Playboy Club and its return to our capital in 1966. We were instantly reminded of our pivotal 1966 video reel Inside The Playboy Paradise.

 5. Jimmy Choo turns his attention to mens fashion

Footwear legend Jimmy Choo ranked 5th on MODE’s rulebook list. Jimmy Choo’s co-founder Tamara Mellon has a connection with our archive in that her father used to run a raunchy life-drawing café in Soho, and British Pathé went along to make this video of it in 1959 called Coffee Bar Studio.

7. Remembering Concorde

As soon as we read the words ‘Remembering Concorde’ we knew just the archive clip to match. Here you can watch colour footage of Concorde’s first ever flight at Filton near Bristol in 1969 – Concorde 002 Flight. We like the white boiler suits too! In fact, just search ‘Concorde’ in the British Pathé film archive and you’ll find loads of great stuff.

8. Remembering Paco Rabanne

We were pleased too to see Paco Rabanne in MODE’s rulebook. For those of you wanting to remember him we have several good clips in the archive, but our favourite has to be this newsreel entitled Metal Fashions, the girls are stunning and the scenery is as mind-boggling as you’d expect.

11. Bjorn Borg

If only British Pathé had continued making cinema newsreels throughout the 1970s we’re sure we’d have some great Bjorn Borg footage. However, we do have our own tennis fashion icon in the archive – Rene Lacoste

We’re looking forward to the next issue of MODE. Also, if their editorial team have one of those Ralph Lauren Home crystal decanters knocking about their office then we could sure as hell put it to good use!

Take a look at MODE on – http://www.shortlist.com/style/mode/ – we’re looking forward to the next issue!