It has been terrific sharing our collection with you over the last five years. We do hope you’ve enjoyed these blog posts (if you haven’t, we can only apologise) and that you’ll follow us to our new home. Our blog is leaving WordPress and will now be hosted on the main British Pathé website. You’ll find our favourite past blog posts up there too. And, just like with WordPress, you can enter your email address to continue getting new posts sent straight to your inbox.
Do let us know what you think of the new blog and the sort of posts you want to read. You can get in touch by emailing email@example.com, leaving a comment beneath this post, or connecting with us via FacebookTwitter.
Our very best wishes,
British Pathé is considered to be the finest newsreel archive in the world and is a treasure trove of 85,000 films unrivalled in their historical and cultural significance. Spanning the years from 1896 to 1976, the collection includes footage from around the globe of major events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, science and culture. The entire archive is available to view online for free via the British Pathé website and YouTube channel.
In a previous post, we looked at a selection of films related to Scottish Independence. Now, with the referendum date looming, we’ve dived into our entire Scottish archive. We’ve compiled a sample of some of the finest 20th century reporting on Scotland and, as with our First World War centenary collection, organised them by topic. The films are presented on a single navigable page for the first time. You’ll find coverage of North Sea oil, NATO and nuclear power, as well as terrific celebrations of Scottish culture. You’ll even catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness monster.
On 18th September 2014, the people of Scotland will vote on a matter of great importance – “Should Scotland be an independent country?” It is not a new question and the British Pathé archive contains a few (and unfortunately only a few) films related to Scottish nationalism during the Twentieth Century. A selection of vintage videos can be viewed below. Particularly interesting is the 1951 newsreel, “The Stone Returns”.
Full title reads: “SCOTS’ WHAE’ HAE’ – Scots Nationalists commemorate 624th anniversary of martyrdom of Sir William Wallace at his birthplace at Elderslie.” Silent newsreel released in cinemas on 29th August 1929. (William Wallace is more popularly known as “Braveheart”.)
The first part of this film documents the International Music and Drama Festival which took place in Edinburgh in 1947. The second features footage from Arbroath in which an historical pageant commemorating Scotland’s Charter of Independence takes place in the ruins of Arbroath Abbey. Released in cinemas 28th August 1947.
A very interesting film about the theft of the Stone of Scone / Destiny by young supporters of Scottish Home Rule from beneath the Coronation chair at Westminster Abbey in an attempt to return the historic object to the Scottish people. The event was even turned into a film in 2008.
Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home stands in by-election at Kinross against Arthur Donaldson, the Scottish National Party candidate, and television star William Rushton who hands out “No Home Rule” posters. Released in cinemas on 7th November 1963.
For the last few decades, holidaying in Iraq has, sadly, been almost impossible. The country has been synonymous with war, violence and oppression for such a long time that the idea of visiting seems very fanciful for anyone born after the 1960s. 40 years ago, Iraq was in fact a popular destination for tourists. But for now, we can only travel there through the medium of film.
We posted an article, “Iraq Before Saddam“, a few days ago, featuring ten films from the history of Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion. But one of them deserves special attention.
The Pathé documentary unit shot a two reel documentary called Ageless Iraq back in the 1950s. If you disregard that the film was probably made for propaganda reasons (the notes say the film was made for the Iraq Petroleum Co.) and instead just view it as a travelogue, it paints a fascinating and extremely appealing picture of this ancient land.
It is easy to forget that Iraq is in fact a country steeped in rich history and culture and as the first reel tells us, the very beginnings of civilisation started here. This is a country where writing was conceived and where man began cultivating the land. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers flow through Iraq, fertilising the plains and during the 1950s agriculture production was thriving and self-sufficient. Iraq is also home to the ancient walls of Babylon and is the birthplace of the prophet Abraham.
Both reels show images of a landscape, culture and society that we just don’t associate with Iraq anymore: art, horseracing, music, cuisine and boats leisurely sailing down a canal in Basra otherwise known as “The Venice of the Middle East”.
The narrator states at the end: “Ageless Iraq, a new country but one that hasn’t forgotten the glories of its history. A country that is now emerging from the shadows of it past to a future bright with promise.” Let’s hope that this will soon be true again and that perhaps, one day, we will be able to book a flight to explore this fascinating land.
During this time of turmoil in Iraq, it is interesting to look back at that country and its history prior to Saddam Hussein coming to power. In the British Pathé archive, there are some fascinating stories and images from that beautiful, if troubled, state. This selection of 10 films includes footage of King Feisal, the construction of Iraqi oil fields, and vintage looks at Iraqi culture.
Full title reads: “Dover & London. A Royal Welcome. The King and Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Duke of Gloucester, Prime Minister and Officers of State, greet King Feisal of Irak on State visit for first time.”
There is an interesting outdated spelling of Iraq used in the title card.
A revolution in Iraq sweeps away King Feisal and his Prime Minister. This newsreel takes a quick look at the life of the monarch, including his state visit to England and the inaugurating of an oil well at Kirkuk.
There are simply too many interesting films to list here. Additional films can be found by searching our YouTube channel or our website. But we’ve selected this “bonus” film. It features Ernest Bevin and the Iraqi Prime Minister Sayyid Salih Jabr in Portsmouth, England at the signing of a new treaty between Iraq and the United Kingdom in 1948.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup is underway in Brazil. At Pathé, some of us are football crazy – others less so! But whether you like your footie or not, there are some stories in the Pathé archive of interest to all. So, if you love football or just don’t want to feel left out of the conversation, here are some essential videos from Pathé’s vintage World Cup coverage.
British Pathé has excellent coverage of the 1966 World Cup in fabulous Technicolor. The match, between England and West Germany, took place at Wembley. Note how the English and German fans are intermingled.
Incredibly, there almost wasn’t a trophy to give England that year. The Cup was stolen, only to be discovered wrapped in newspaper on a London street by a dog called Pickles. This Pathé film shows Pickles getting his reward. Sadly, Pickles died the following year.
This 1966 film shows footballs being made in Yorkshire for the World Cup. A surprisingly interesting look at something most of us never really give much thought to.
For those of you less enamoured with the great game (like your author – sorry, football fans!), if friends or colleagues mention a game from pre-1966 (unlikely) or from the post-Pathé era (quite likely), don’t panic! Just nod and say, “That was a very memorable match” – this can be used for both good and bad games. You’ll blend right in.
For those who want to delve more deeply into the Pathé archive than 1966, the company’s coverage of other World Cup years was more limited, but there are some good films, especially of qualifying matches. You can find every Pathé World Cup film in this collection on our website.
On 6 June 1944, the invasion of Normandy began. British Pathé newsreels documented every stage of the liberation of Europe. Three videos are especially worth bringing to your attention.
INVASION – PICTORIAL REPORTS FROM FRANCE
This contemporary Pathé newsreel documents D-Day for cinema audiences watching back home. It’s interesting to magine what they must have thought watching these pictures. Many would have had sons, brothers or husbands on the battlefield.
For a more in-depth look at the D-Day landings and subsequent battles, you can explore a collection British Pathé has compiled of footage from the archive and organised by topic. You can see a screenshot of the collection below, very similar to the one we recently produced for the First World War. You can find the collection on our website via this link.
On 31st December, Tracey Curtis-Taylor completed a mammoth solo flight from Cape Town to Goodwood in Britain. She had been expected earlier in the month, but bad weather hindered her progress. It was a terrific achievement that did not receive as much press coverage as it deserved. Curtis-Taylor was recreating Lady Mary Heath’s historic flight in 1928. British Pathé covered that journey and you can view the original newsreel here.
Lady Heath was a pioneering aviator and she was also filmed preparing to leave for a flying tour of America (also 1928) and regaining her pilot’s licence in 1931 following a terrible accident.
British Pathé has footage related to the tensions between Spain and Britain over the sovereignty of The Rock. Most interestingly, there’s a clip on Spain clamping down on people crossing the border into Gibraltar. There’s also footage of the Queen visiting in 1954, despite Spanish objections, plus films covering the 1967 referendum.
The archive also contains interesting material from the Falklands, in the news again recently as reports circulate that Argentina and Spain may join forces in opposing British overseas territorial claims at the United Nations. Negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands began in 1966 after a UN resolution the year before forced Britain to the table. For many years a succession of foreign secretaries attempted to promote the virtues of Argentine sovereignty, encouraging the Falklanders to submit. The reactions of the islanders to the opening of negotiations are plainly to be seen in this film.
Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, the younger brother of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, has died aged 44. He had been in a coma since February 2012 when he was caught up in an avalanche in Austria.
There is footage from the announcement of his birth in the archive, though unfortunately there is no sound. In the clip, the baby prince is shown off to the Mayor, witnesses, the doctor and the press at the hospital and the baby’s name is registered (Johan Friso Bernhard Christiaan David van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg) at Utrecht Town Hall.
British Pathé also filmed his christening in December 1968.You can view the film, released in cinemas by British Pathé in January 1969, here.
British Pathé captured many extraordinary events on film over its 80 year history but sometimes the cameras were switched on when tragedy struck. From Franz Reichelt’s death jump off the Eiffel Tower to the Hindenburg Disaster, here are 10 tragedies caught on film.
For more information about these incidents, you can visit our gallery here.
The British Pathé Archive is the world’s finest digital news collection. All 90,000 clips are available to view online for free. Visit www.britishpathe.com
60 years:The signing of the truce in 1953 was covered by Pathé News and the original newsreel can be viewed here. The archive also has additional material from the Korean War, including combat footage. Here’s a selection.
Several of the Duchess of Cambridge’s ancestors have been discovered on newsreels within the British Pathé film library.
The earliest film (you can find them all here) dates back to 1915 and shows Kate Middleton’s great-great-great uncle, the Lord Mayor of Leeds Sir Charles Lupton paying a visit to the Leeds Pals Battalion in a camp near Colsterdale in the Yorkshire Dales. Sir Charles Lupton is being accompanied by his three brothers, one of which is the Duchess’ great-great grandfather, Francis Lupton. Francis and his other two brothers, Arthur and Hugh (who became Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1926) are the Duchess’ other great-great-great uncles and they were all Aldermen of the City of Leeds.
Another film called ‘Princess Mary’ is from 1927 and it shows Kate Middleton’s great-great-great uncle the Lord Mayor of Leeds Hugh Lupton and his wife Lady Mayoress Isabella Lupton greeting Princess Mary who had arrived in Leeds to inaugurate the Girls Week Campaign of Hunslet Young Women’s Christian Association. Princess Mary was King George VI’s sister and therefore is Prince William’s great-great- Aunt.
We often get contacted by visitors to our website who are thrilled to find films of their ancestors, their close family or even themselves as youngsters. We knew we had many films of Prince William’s family, but it was a real surprise to find that we also have the Duchess of Cambridge’s ancestors and that they were meeting Royalty.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL THREE FILMS OF THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE’S ANCESTORS.
Our thanks to historian Michael Reed who uncovered the footage.
3rd July 2013 marks 75 years since the famous steam locomotive “Mallard” broke the world speed record. British Pathé has some interesting films of this great engine. This collection holds all five films, or you can view the individual clips via the links below.
On June 4 1913, suffragette Emily Wilding Davison made her way in to the history books of political protest when she fell under the hooves of George V’s horse at the Epsom Derby. She sustained fatal injuries and she died 4 days later.
Davison had studied at Oxford University before becoming a teacher. She joined Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1906. The WSPU’s mission was to pull together people who felt strongly that radical and confrontational methods were required in order to achieve women’s suffrage. Their main aim was winning the vote for women. Davison left her teaching post in 1908 to devote all her time to the cause. In her 41 years, Davison had been force fed on 49 occasions and had been jailed 9 times, including one prison term for a violent attack on a man she mistook for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As such she gained a reputation for being a violent militant activist and was well known to the police.
The 1913 Derby
Despite camera technology being in its infancy, three newsreel cameras captured the tragedy from different angles. At the time, cameras were bulky and there was no such thing as a tracking camera, instead they were static and were limited in what they could cover. However, the Pathe News camera was placed to the right of Tattenham Corner and was waiting to capture the horses as they raced around the corner. It happens in a flash but Davison can just be made out running on to the track. Some horses sweep by her but the king’s horse Anmer, who is third last, ploughs into Davison. The horse somersaults, catapulting its jockey Herbert Jones in to the air. Spectators flock on to the track to attend the injured. Jones suffered mild concussion and later he went on to say that he was “haunted by that poor woman’s face”. Some 30 years later, Jones was discovered to have committed suicide after his son found him in a gas-filled kitchen.
Was it suicide?
There has been much speculation about Davison’s intentions on that fateful day and many are divided as to her true motivation. The 1913 title card from the Pathe Newsreel reads “Suffragette Killed in Attempt to Pull Down the King’s Horse”. This was the general consensus at the time – that it was a deliberate act. Sylvia and Emmeline Pankhurst had no doubt that Davison deliberately killed herself out of downright passion for her cause whilst others saw her actions as reckless and anarchic. However, evidence suggests that Davison was not at the Derby to commit suicide but instead she was there to attach a flag to the horse’s bridle in order to bring attention to women’s suffrage. In fact police reports suggested that two flags were found on her body. Other evidence to support that martyrdom was not her intention includes her return train ticket back to London plus a ticket she had for a summer festival later on that day. Also a postcard she had written to her sister suggested that they were due to holiday together in the near future. Evidence which seems to clearly indicate that she intended to leave Epsom Downs that day. Historians have also suggested that Davison and other suffragettes were seen practising grabbing horses in a park near Davison’s mother’s house and they drew straws to decide who was going to be the one to go to Epsom.
Whether she deliberately sought after death or not, suffragettes embraced Davison as a martyr to her cause and used the funeral to highlight the WSPU movement. On 14 June 1913, Davison’s coffin was taken in procession through the streets of London to St George’s Church in Bloomsbury. 6000 women turned out for the service. At the inquest in to her death, police reached the verdict of ‘misadventure’.
On May 8th, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened Parliament and read the speech prepared for her by the Government listing the bills that would be put to the Houses during the course of the next year. Much is being made of Prince Charles’ unusual attendance, a sign perhaps of his increased role as the Queen grows older. The full text of the Queen’s speech can be read on the Number 10 website here.
British Pathé has a great many films of previous state openings of Parliament. But particularly noteworthy are the clips outlined below. Click the links to take a look.
Description: Various shots of crowds in the rain, men from the Yeoman of the Guard file in to search vaults in House of Lords. The royal car carrying King Edward VIII (later Duke of Windsor) drives through, he has chosen a closed car because of the bad weather. He is wearing Admiral’s uniform and waves at the crowds. M/S as his car enters the Palace of Westminster.
M/S as he drives out again afterwards, crowds are still gathered to see him. M/S as his car enters the gates of Buckingham Palace.
Description: Royal coach leaving Buckingham Palace. Large crowds running towards the coach. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Mother) are see in coach. Various shots of the coach moving very slowly through packed London streets towards Parliament. Crowds cheering. Several shots of the Yeomen of the Guard preparing for the Royal Reception. Various shots of the coach returning to Buckingham Palace after opening of the Parliament. A car with Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret follows the coach on the way to the Palace.
Description: GV. Royal carriage leaving Buckingham Palace. SV. Pan, royal carriage leaving Buckingham Palace. SV. Royal Household escort leaving. GTV. of massed crowds at Horse Guards. GV.STV. Royal carriage driving through Horse Guards. LV. Royal carriage driving through Horse Guards. SV. Crowd as horses pass. SV. Pan Queen’s coach passing crowds. LV. Household Cavalry arriving on foot outside Parliament. LV.SV. Beefeaters arriving from coach. LV. Gentlemen at Arms arriving and assembling. SV. Lords arriving. SV. Yeomen of the Guard (Beefeaters) going into Palace of Westminster. SV.Back view, Yeoman of the Guard going into Parliament. LV. Crowd: and Guards present arms. SV. Pan Princess Margaret’s car arriving, also with her is the Princess Royal. LV. Escort Cavalry trotting past towards Parliament. SV. Pan, escort Cavalry trotting past towards Palace of Westminster. LV. Towards and pan, State Coach approaching Guard of Honour. LV. Escort passing Guard of Honour, Guards present. SV. People watching from balcony. LV. Towards and pan State coach passing Guard of Honour. SCU. Coach turning and driving into courtyard. Angle shot, Parliament. LV.SV. Household Cavalry lined up outside. SCU. Queen’s coach leaving Parliament. CU Royal Standard flying from Flag Pole. MS. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on balcony. GV. Crowds outside Palace. LS. Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall and Princess Anne on balcony.
M/S as the Irish State Coach leaves Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II waves from it. M/S as it drives along. M/S travelling past Guard of Honour. M/S state crown in carriage. M/S parade. M/S Queen and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, in carriage. M/S escort riding along. M/S’s coach coming up Whitehall. M/S as the coach arrives at Parliament and drives through gates.
The British people have voted for their “greatest battle” in a poll conducted by the National Army Museum. The combined victories at Imphal and Kohima against the Japanese in the Second World War are now taken to be the “Greatest British Battle” in history, winning more than half of the votes cast. The runner up was D-Day, with 25 per cent of the vote. A full list of the contenders can be found here, in an article for The Daily Telegraph. For each of these engagements, the British Pathé archive has some relevant films that should be of interest.
“Invasion Scenes Far East” is a newsreel item showing British troops advancing towards Imphal in India. “Japs Trapped At Imphal” follows Indian infantry of 5th and 7th Indian divisions as they advance through the Hills of Manipur, past the bodies of dead Japanese soldiers, to trap the enemy. Finally, “Driving Out The Japs” follows Lord Louis Mountbatten inspecting Indian soldiers and British men of the 14th Army at Imphal and Kohima. You can find all three films in this collection.
There’s been many traumatic incidents over the last few days – earthquakes, shootings, terrorist atrocities, industrial accidents… Sadly, these are nothing new, and the British Pathé archive contains a great deal of past tragedies. The Day That Shook The World series, for instance, features many acts of terror, including the IRA bombing in Brighton, 9/11, the London Bombings of 2005, the Belsan School Siege, and the Oklahoma attack. You can find every episode here.
Although her Official birthday is not until June, Elizabeth II was actually born on 21st April 1926. She will be 87 this year. As the daughter of the Duke of York, her birth did not earn newsreel coverage at the time. But there is some early footage of her as a young princess and a collection of key films from her reign.
Perhaps of particular interest is this newsreel celebrating her 21st birthday, which includes great footage of a care-free princess.
As thousands of mourners including world leaders and dignitaries get ready to pay their respects to Margaret Thatcher, we take a look at the funerals of previous British Prime Ministers that were filmed and can be found in the British Pathé archive. In all, the funerals of eleven PMs feature in the collection. You can view the individual films via the links below, or cycle through this image gallery.
It has been announced that Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister, has died at the age of 87.
Although British Pathé ended newsreel production in 1970, before Thatcher came to power, there are a few films in the archive that may be of interest. In the 1990s, British Pathé and the BBC co-produced two series, A Day That Shook the World and Twentieth Century Hall of Fame, both of which had episodes on the Thatcher years. The brief summaries can be viewed for free on our website:
There are three additional films from the 1970s. One, a news report on Woolwich’s efforts to battle against the school milk ban (the source of Thatcher’s nickname “Maggie Thatcher the Milk Snatcher”) is worth a look. It can be viewed here.
The other two are not so interesting. There’s some brief shots of Thatcher getting out of her car and entering Number 10 part-way through this random assortment of Whitehall scenes and there’s some mute material featuring impersonator / comedian Janet Brown pretending to be Margaret Thatcher in Brighton in 1975.
Margaret Thatcher was a divisive figure whose impact upon the course of British politics and modern history is incalculable. Her premiership and her legacy will be debated for a long time to come. Feel free to express your own thoughts and feelings below.
British Pathé’s profile of Margaret Thatcher can be viewed here.
This weekend, the 2013 Grand National race will be held at Aintree. The sometimes controversial competition (equine deaths are common, and you can read CNN’s interesting article here) has a long history, and British Pathé has footage dating back to 1919.
One of the most famous races is that of 1967, which included perhaps the most notorious pile up in Grand National history. Foinavon had odds of 100/1 to win the race. Even his owner Cyril Watkins did not both to attend Aintree because the chances of a win were wholly improbable. As expected, Foinavon did not play a competitive part in the race until at the 23rd fence, a loose horse cut across the riders causing all the horses to either fall, unseat their riders or refuse to jump. Foinavon and his rider, John Buckingham, are so far behind that they manage to bypass the shambles, jump the fence and take a lead of 200 yards. Although most riders were able to remount, no one managed to quite catch up with horse and rider, and no owner or trainer was in the winner’s enclosure to congratulate them!
Explore a chronological list of British Pathé’s Grand National collection here.
The Rolling Stones have announced that they will be returning to Hyde Park in the summer for the first time in 44 years. The last time they performed there it was 1969, and Pathé’s coverage of the concert can be viewed here.
Tensions between North Korea and its Southern neighbour continue. British Pathé footage of the Korean War may be of relevance.
UK now made up of 7 classes
New research has revealed that the “working”, “middle”, and “upper class” model of British society is no longer adequate and that in fact there are 7 classes in Britain today. The British Pathé archive highlights class differences during the Twentieth Century. Some of the most interesting films can be viewed here.
The 2013 Grand National will be held this weekend. British Pathé has coverage of many Grand Nationals from as early as 1919, including Foinavon’s famous victory in 1967. Explore the collection via this link.
You may have seen in the news today that it is the 40th anniversary of the first mobile phone call. However, there may be competition for the title. Only a few days ago a video came to light of a woman in 1938 using a device that looks suspiciously familiar to modern-day eyes. The Daily Mail carried an article about it which seemingly explains the mystery of the wireless phone.
But amazingly, the British Pathé archive has some even earlier footage of a mobile phone call being made – from 1922! It caused quite a large amount of interest three years ago, and although we have shared it before, we thought the occasion called for us taking another look. For those who haven’t seen it – the world’s first mobile phone.
Simon Atkins, an ex-Royal Signals Officer, explained to us how the device works:
“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.”
One of the visitors to our site indicated that the device is probably a “Home-O-Fone”, produced by the Radio Receptor Co. in New York.
George Lowe, part of Edmund Hillary’s team that conquered Mount Everest in 1953, died on Wednesday at the age of 89. Obituaries can be read online – The Guardian‘s is here. There are now no living members of that pioneering expedition. Fortunately, their written accounts, the Conquest of Everest documentary, and various newsreels survive for future generations to enjoy. British Pathé sadly has no footage of the expedition itself (though there is material from earlier Everest expeditions), but we do have films celebrating the team members upon their return. You can view a selection here.
On the 3rd April, it will be the 80th anniversary of the First Flight over Everest. In 1933, a British team set off for the pioneering mission. Footage of the team can be found via this link.
The British Pathé archive also contains coverage of the 1924 expedition, the 1952 Swiss expedition, and the American expedition in the 1960s. All the Everest films can be found in this collection.
This weekend, HMS Belfast, the famous ship which has inhabited the Thames since 1971 as a museum, will celebrate the 75th anniversary of her launch. The Royal Navy cruiser was launched on 17th March 1938 at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland. British Pathé has footage of the occasion in its archive, which can be viewed here. The launch can be found mid-way through the clip, which begins as an item about Mrs Chamberlain opening a new airport (though due to the fact that some footage has gone missing, the clip doesn’t feature Mrs Chamberlain at all!)
As well as the launch, there are some additional films in which HMS Belfast makes an appearance. The most substantial is an item about Royal Navy cadets taking the ship to Gibraltar. The 1963 newsreel, “Cadets Try Sea Life“, features some nice shots of HMS Belfast and the cadets lined up on her deck for her departure from Portsmouth.
There are two other films of note: “Tanganyika Independent“, about the celebrations for the independence of Tanganyika (later Tanzania) in 1961, shows HMS Belfast lit up at night in the harbour. “Royal Navy Ships“, filmed some time in the 1940s, shows some crew members messing around with an HMS Belfast lifebuoy.
There are also four items from the 1970s which show HMS Belfast on the Thames. You can find the films in this collection. British Pathé stopped releasing newsreels in February 1970 (see our History of British Pathé), and so much of the material in the archive from that decade is silent, unedited, and never released. This HMS Belfast footage is a good example, but the films are an enjoyable watch due to some beautiful aerial views of London and the River Thames.
HMS Belfast saw action in the Second World War, beginning with the arctic convoys. She also took part in the Battle of North Cape and the Normandy landings. Later, she was used in the Korean War. In the 1970s she became a museum ship and has been visited by scores of tourists and history-lovers ever since. It’s worth a visit if you’ve never been.
70 years ago, the submarine HMS Thunderbolt sank for the second time, with the loss of everyone aboard. It had sunk four years previously, raised, and renamed. British Pathé has footage of HMS Thunderbolt, its launch at Birkenhead, and the original sinking off North Wales. Click here to view the collection.
British Pathé conducted interviews with Sir William on his welfare report and covered his wedding in 1942. Click here to view the films. He died on 16th March 1963.
In other news…
Nick Compton recently made his England Test cricket debut (November 2012) and is currently touring with the team in New Zealand. Nick is the grandson of cricketer and footballer Denis Compton, who features heavily in the British Pathé archive. A selection can be found here.
The British Pathé archive has a great deal of footage for the Twentieth Century popes from 1922 until 1972. A selection for each can be found via these links:
Last night, the BBC aired a special edition of its popular Countryfile series, guest-edited by Prince Charles. Reviews today have been good and it seems there is agreement that the Prince came out of the programme very well. Do watch the episode on iPlayer if you get a chance (link).
If you saw the programme, you’ll remember that Prince Charles was shown some archive footage of his time at Balmoral in his youth to stir up some memories.
The footage was from a British Pathé film, “Balmoral Holiday” (1957), which can be viewed in full here. Some additional clips shown to the Prince came from these cuts from a 1955 piece “Royal Family On Holiday”. The completed film can be seen too, here.
The “delightfully informal” footage shows Charles and his family enjoying the countryside, feeding the animals, and spending some time with each other away from their tiresome ceremonial duties.
North Korea has terminated any peace agreements made during the Korean War.
The signing of the original truce in 1953 was covered by Pathé News and the newsreel can be viewed here. The archive also has additional material from the Korean War, including combat footage. You can find a selection in this collection.
The conflict is often referred to as “The Forgotten War”, but as many as two and a half million civilians lost their lives during the fighting, as well as many British soldiers.
It’s International Women’s Day 2013! If you’re not familiar with it, do take a look at the official website for the occasion.
Given the nature of the day, you might be interested in our classic doc, “Emancipation of Women“, covering changes in women’s lives and status between 1890 and 1930. The film was put together when the Archive was under EMI ownership (from 1969 until 1986 – see our history of British Pathé page). The entire production can be viewed online for free here.
Historical Advisor – Arthur Marwick, Professor of History, the Open University.
Film Research – Lisa Pontecorvo.
Written and Produced by Richard Dunn.
Produced and Distributed by EMI Special Films Unit.
Today marks two notable anniversaries for which the British Pathé archive has some relevant footage. Most importantly, Joseph Stalin died 60 years ago, on 5th March 1953. Stalin, the former leader of the USSR, has gone down in history as one of the most controlling and murderous dictators the world has ever seen. His regime of fear caused the suffering of many of his own people – some estimates put deaths at 20-30 million. We included him in our recent gallery, 10 Faces of Evil, along with Adolf Hitler and other notorious criminals.
But Stalin is not universally derided. Although Russia itself has since acknowledged the awful crimes of his decades in power (indeed, see Khrushchev denouncing Stalin in 1956), there has been news coverage today concerning the opposing views about him in Georgia, where he was born in 1878. Some there revile him, but others proclaim him a “local hero”. The BBC News report can be read here.
British Pathé holds a great many films related to Stalin, but also newsreels announcing his death and footage revealing the reactions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia to their leader’s passing. You can find the relevant collection of films via this link.
The second notable anniversary concerns a great feat of British engineering. 70 years ago, the Gloster Meteor flew for the first time in the UK. Footage of the plane in flight from the 1940s on can be found in the British Pathé archive. Click here to explore.
For British Pathé’s collection of newsreels on the death of Stalin, click here.
For British Pathé footage of Gloster Meteors, click here.
It was the 85th Academy Awards last night! The winners were all worthy, Daniel Day Lewis was charming as usual, everyone was impeccably dressed, and the great William Shatner made an extended appearance. We stayed up all night as usual, and (as with every year) we regret it. It’s never quite as fun as we think it’ll be, especially when Steve Martin is absent. Martin was, for us anyway, the standout host of recent Oscar times. Seth Macfarlane was okay, but check out this Martin monologue from the official Oscars YouTube channel:
And with Alec Baldwin on Martin’s third appearance:
Disagree with us? Leave us a comment below!
But if, like us, you’re nostalgic for earlier times, you can see highlights from past ceremonies in the British Pathé archive via this link.
For our 1967 Oscar-nominated Documentary, “See You At The Pillar”, click here
In our opinion, this past year has been a triumph for modern cinema and, as usual, the whole of Hollywood will assemble on 24th February 2013 to celebrate its success.
British Pathé has some footage of earlier ceremonies from the late 1940s, the 1950s, and 1960s. You can view them all here.
The 85th Academy Awards are set to be an exciting celebration and it will be interesting to see who scoops the awards this year. We’ve listed all of the nominees below, with links to their imdb profiles. We’ve also scattered a few stills from our collection. Just click on them to be taken to our list of Oscar films.
We also have an Oscar-nominated film of our own that you can watch. The travelogue “See You At The Pillar” was nominated for an Academy Award in the Documentary Short category in 1967. Watch it here.
Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Best supporting actor
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert de Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Best supporting actress
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
Best original screenplay
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
John Gatins Flight
Michael Haneke, Amour
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Best adapted screenplay
Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
David Magee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Chris Terrio, Argo
Best foreign film
Amour – Austria Kon-Tiki – Norway No – Chile A Royal Affair – Denmark War Witch – Canada
5 Broken Cameras The Gatekeepers How to Survive a Plague The Invisible War Searching for Sugar Man
Best documentary short
Inocente Kings Point Mondays at Racine Open Heart Redemption
Brave: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman Frankenweenie: Tim Burton ParaNorman: Sam Fell, Chris Butler The Pirates! Band of Misfits / In an Adventure with Scientists, Peter Lord Wreck it Ralph, Rich Moore
Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey Django Unchained, Robert Richardson Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski Skyfall, Roger Deakins
Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers, Silver Linings Playbook
William Goldenberg, Argo
Michael Kahn, Lincoln
Tim Squyres, Life of Pi
Dylan Tichenor, William Goldenberg, Zero Dark Thirty
Best sound editing
Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn, Argo
Wylie Stateman: Django Unchained
Drew Kunin, Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton, Ron Bartlett, D. M. Hemphill: Life of Pi
Per Hallberg, Karen Baker Landers: Skyfall
Paul N.J. Ottosson, Zero Dark Thirty
Best sound mixing
Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin, Life of Pi
Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson,
Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes, Les Miserables
Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson, Skyfall
Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins, Lincoln
John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia, Argo
Best make up and hair
Julie Hewett, Martin Samuel, Howard Berger: Hitchcock
Peter Swords King, Richard Taylor, Rick Findlater: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Lisa Westcott, Les Miserables
Best original score
Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Alexandre Desplat, Argo
Mychael Danna, Life of Pi
John Williams, Lincoln
Thomas Newman, Skyfall
Best original song
“Before My Time” from Chasing Ice
“Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted
“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi
“Skyfall” from Skyfall
“Suddenly” from Les Misérables
Best production design
Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer: Anna Karenina
Dan Hennah (Production Design); Ra Vincent and Simon Bright (Set Decoration), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson: Les Miserables
David Gropman, Anna Pinnock: Life of Pi
Rick Carter, Jim Erickson: Lincoln
Best visual effects
Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson, Snow White and the Huntsman
Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick, Avengers Assemble
Richard Stammers, Charley Henley, Trevor Wood, Paul Butterworth: Prometheus
Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer: Life of Pi
Best costume design
Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
Paco Delgado, Les Miserables
Joanna Johnston, Lincoln
Eiko Ishioka, Mirror Mirror
Colleen Atwood, Snow White and the Huntsman
Best short film (animated)
Adam and Dog Fresh Guacamole Head over Heels Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” Paperman
Asad Buzkashi Boys Curfew Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw) Henry
For British Pathé’s news coverage of the Academy Awards, click here
For the Oscar-nominated Documentary, “See You At The Pillar”, click here
The British Government has announced that all wounded veterans will get the most advanced artificial limbs. This involves increasing funding by £6.5 million. A report by The Daily Telegraph, including an interview with Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond, can be foundhere.
This film from the British Pathé archive shows artificial limbs of the past. In the footage, First World War amputees practice with their new prosthetics.
The most exciting 5 days in fashion begins today as London welcomes designers, press and fashion icons from all over the world for London Fashion Week.
The first fashion week was held in 1984 in a West London car park and the event continued to have great success until the recession in the 90’s with only a few designers would showcasing their new lines at the Ritz Hotel. In 1993, Fashion Week bounced back when Naomi Campbell walked down the catwalk topless for the Philip Treacy.
There will be a major focus on trade. It is estimated that over 100 million pounds worth of orders are placed each Fashion Week and 5,000 photographers, journalists and buyers all flock to London to see what next season’s fashion will hold.
Fashion Week is not without its controversy. In the mid 90’s many fashion houses were criticised for using dangerously-thin models to showcase their work. The Model Health Enquiry was launched to investigate these claims and now designers are being encouraged to promote a healthy body image.
An exciting weekend of fashion fever lies ahead for London. For some inspiration for your own look, these clips from the British Pathé fashion archive might provide some interesting tips!
Today’s news is full of stories about the Pope’s resignation. After eight years, Benedict XVI will step down due to ill health. He will be the first pope to relinquish the position since Gregory XII in 1415. This was the statement that was released by the Vatican:
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonisations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.
For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
The British Pathé archive holds a great deal of material related to the papacy and to many of the previous popes who served during the Twentieth Century.
The earliest footage of a pope in the archive dates from 1922. Benedict XV died in this year and newsreels announced his death. His twenty-first century namesake called him a “prophet of peace” for his role in the First World War.
British Pathé filmed the election of Benedict XV’s successor, who served from 1922 until his own death in 1939. During his tenure, he presided over the transformation of Vatican City into a sovereign state. Click here to view a selection of news stories from his reign.
When Paul VI died in 1978, he was succeeded by John Paul I. Sadly, 33 days after his succession, John Paul was discovered dead in his bed. John Paul II replaced him, the first non-Italian pope for more than 400 years. He died in 2005 and an episode of A Day That Shook The World documents the funeral.
On Sunday, 10th February 2013, it will have been 100 years since Robert Falcon Scott and his colleagues Henry Bowers and Edward Wilson were discovered dead in their tent in the Antarctic, having failed to reach the South Pole nearly a year before. There’s some really interesting footage in the archive of Scott and the expedition, but much of it is contained within longer retrospectives. Here’s a brief summary of the material to help you locate it:
Film of the Terra Nova, the ship which took Scott to the Antarctic and returned without him, was some of the earliest footage that British Pathé released in cinemas. There is a clip of the ship leaving for the Antarctic in 1910 and one of it returning to Cardiff in 1913.
The classic series Time To Remember, produced by British Pathé in the late 1950s and early 1960s, contains some additional footage that can’t be found elsewhere in the archive. The material appears at the end of Reel 1 and the beginning of Reel 2. You can view the relevant portions of those reels here. Included is a nice close up of Scott himself and some remarkable film of the expedition.
“Here’s to the Memory” also has footage apparently filmed in the Antarctic. It features the men huddled on the ground for dinner and trekking through the barren landscape towards their goal. It appears towards the beginning of this section of the documentary.
The expedition material was shot by Herbert Ponting, who accompanied Scott to the Antarctic with his camera. He survived and later produced the 1924 documentary, The Great White Silence.
Earlier in January, the Football Association kicked off celebrations to mark its 150th anniversary.
The FA was established in 1863 and codified the modern rules of that great English sport. Not too long after, in 1871, the very first FA Cup match was held. Sadly, this was too early to be captured by motion picture cameras and the first FA Cup material photographed by British Pathé seems to be some shots of the winning 1914 Burnley team (they beat Liverpool 1-0). The earliest actual in-game footage, though, appears in the clip “ASTON VILLA WIN English Cup for the sixth time – defeating Huddersfield in Cup Final by a lucky goal after extra time”. The film dates from 1920. Almost all of the Cup Final matches were covered by British Pathé from that date on, until the company finished newsreel production in 1970. A collection of the films can be explored here, in date order.
As well as coverage of the FA Cup, the British Pathé archive holds a wealth of other great games and classic football moments. Simply searching for “football” on our website brings up an astonishing 2333 clips – far too many to detail here! But some particularly interesting material can be found via these links:
Brazilian footballer Edison Arantes do Nascimento (or “Pele”) performed so well at the 1958 World Cup Final v Sweden that it was documented in an episode of A Day That Shook The World. Click here to view the episode.
The year before, it was the Hungary team which was scoring with exceptional skill. Ferenc Puskas, that legendary player and coach, was playing against England when he scored this terrific goal. Click here to view the film.
Barack Obama took the oath of office for his second term as President of the United States yesterday in Washington D.C. His speech at the event emphasised the need to engage peacefully with the rest of the world and for the American people to unite in solving the problems of today. The issues highlighted were gender inequality, the gap between rich and poor, healthcare, global warming and immigration. One topic the newspapers have been focussing on, though, is gay rights, for Obama became the first president in history to touch on the issue in an inaugural address (Obama listed Stonewall alongside Seneca Falls and Selma). The full speech, courtesy of The New York Times’ YouTube channel, can be viewed below:
The British Pathé archive contains coverage of a great many previous inaugurations, not only of American Presidents, but of those from other countries as well. For the United States, the earliest appears to be of William G. Harding in 1921 and the most recent to be of President Nixon in 1969. The inaugurations in between can be viewed via this link.
View British Pathé’s collection of US Presidential Inaugurations here.
21st January 2013 is the inaugural Annual George Orwell Day. The date has been chosen for the day of his death (21st January 1950). British Pathé holds three films of direct relevance to the life and works of Orwell.
The earliest is a film entitled “Eton Wall Game” and it shows students at Eton celebrating St Andrew’s Day in 1921. Apparently, the film features a young George Orwell, something which has been verified by one of his biographers, D.J. Taylor. View the film here. If you know which one is Orwell, do leave us a comment below.
The other two clips date from after Orwell’s death. One covers the premiere of the film “1984” in London, along with a glimpse at an art director’s model of London, an arrow pointing to “Victory Square”. See the red carpet activities and the model here.
But the more interesting clip takes us behind the scenes of the animated adaptation of “Animal Farm” in the 1950s. We get to see storyboarding, animating and short sections of the finished film. Watch the fascinating three-minute examination of the work that went into the classic cartoon here.
It has been reported in the papers today that high street retailer HMV has gone the way of Woolworths, Jessops, Comet, Zavvi (until rescued by HMV), and Fopp (until rescued by HMV) – into administration. As more people shop online on sites such as Amazon, stores that you can physically go to, particularly for entertainment products like DVDs or video games, are disappearing. Kindles may well prove to be the death of book stores too. Perhaps all this is no bad thing. But the long history of some of these companies, and their places within the British cultural consciousness, make these changes sad, even if necessary.
Given HMV stores’ association with DVDs, the younger among us might be forgiven for thinking that the company was established relatively recently, but in fact it was founded back in 1921. Originally it was a sound device manufacturer and music retailer and footage of the HMV factories from its early years can be found in the British Pathé archive.
As well as some general shots of an HMV factory in the 1930s (along with a look at a sign reading “His Master’s Voice”, which was abbreviated to HMV), you can also find singer Gracie Fields visiting the huge factory at Hayes pressing her four millionth record in 1933. Another clip worth highlighting is one from 1932 concerning “voice grafting – the latest miracle of sound science”, filmed at HMV studios. View it here.
Interestingly, the history of British Pathé is linked to HMV through the former ownership of both companies by EMI. The archive was at EMI and Thorn EMI from 1969 until 1986 and a visit to the archive during that period can be found here.
View all of the HMV clips within the archive via this link.
Here’s our selection of British Pathé footage that relates to anniversaries coming up in the next two weeks. Click the links below to take a look! You can also keep up to date with aniversaries by following our dedicated Pinterest board.
It will have been 150 years since the birth of David Lloyd George on 17th January 1863. Lloyd George, Prime Minister during the First World War, features in a great many British Pathé newsreels. Explore them here.
Another birthday for January is that of American comedian Danny Kaye, born 100 years ago on 18th January 1913. There is some excellent footage of Kaye in the archive, particularly of his 1948 Royal Command Performance act and rehearsals. Watch them here.
London Underground, known colloquially as “the Tube”, is the oldest subway system in the world. Since the first service was launched 150 years ago, on 10th January 1863, it has carried an unbelievable number of passengers (now over 1 billion a year!) beneath the streets of The Big Smoke. By the time British Pathé was producing newsreels in the 1910s, there were already a number of different lines, which probably explains why so little footage of the Underground features in the archive until the Second World War, when its use as air raid shelters presumably made it newsworthy again. Indeed, prior to 1939, British Pathé often seemed more interested in the subways of other countries than in its own.
British Pathé was mainly concerned with new construction. As early as 1925 the company released a newsreel on the removal of the statue of Eros necessitated by the building of a new Piccadilly station and the next year the creation of the world’s largest tube line – from Edgware to Hendon – also earned newsreel coverage (view it here). Following the war, Transport Minister Alfred Barnes could be seen in a newsreel from 1946 opening a 4-mile extension of the Underground to Stratford (which would prove vital for the 2012 Summer Olympics). The work cost £3.5 million, employing 2000 – “sizeable figures for 9 minutes travel”. In the film, we get glimpses of tube journeys in the 1940s, including some nice interior shots of the carriages. The next year, Barnes opened another extension in Essex on the Central Line and in the film documenting it, the cameras travel through the new stations from Wanstead to Gants Hill.
The opening ceremony for Stage 3 of the Victoria Line involved the Queen not only operating the vehicle from the driver’s cabin but taking her second-ever journey in a tube carriage. The newsreel, “Queen Opens New Victoria Line (1969)”, can be viewed here.
Aside from construction work, British Pathé was preoccupied with the work of cleaning and maintaining the tunnels and stations. In 1944, we took an “exclusive” look at women war workers, known as “fluffies” or “fluffers”, who cleaned the Underground every night. An interesting reveal is the extraordinary amount of fluff created by people’s clothing during just one day. Other features on tube cleaners followed, such as on the “Rubber Man” Leonard Ware, who was responsible for erasing graffiti (the cinemagazine names “the moustache” as the most common form of it). We don’t know what was cut from this clip, but the graffiti certainly seems rather mild – and it’s all in pencil! If only Tube staff today were so lucky. You can see the light-hearted 1947 film here. There are also films from 1949 and 1950 documenting cleaning work after hours.
British Pathé always liked to show things it believed to be unknown or unusual, so as well as “fluffies”, the company had a look at less mundane uses for the Tube. These included the Post Office’s own underground railway, the telephone exchange within an unused Tube tunnel and, of course, as air raid shelters during the Blitz.
British Pathé also documented some of the tragedies which occurred on London Underground during its long history. In 1939, a terrorist attack forced two damaged stations, Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road, to be shut temporarily. Only two days after the maiden service on the Stratford extension discussed above, two people were killed when a train collided with a second, thankfully empty, carriage. Any footage of the aftermath is currently missing, but the newsreel announcing the incident is here. 1953 saw another tube crash near Stratford in which 8 adults and 1 child were killed, with 49 others injured. The newsreel shows the damaged interiors of the carriages, as well as rescue workers bringing out the dead. Luckily, the fire on the unfinished Victoria Line in 1966 claimed no lives. And while the British Pathé footage ends with the Victoria Line in 1969, apart from a few silent clips from the 1970s, an episode of A Day That Shook The World documents the horrific events of the July 2005 London bombings. An interesting look at safety on the Underground is provided by a film from 1955 showing new recruits in training, which involved miniature railways and mock-ups of various safety devices.
Finally, British Pathé’s extensive collection of strike footage also includes the 1962 Tube Strike, which made people realise “how London depends on the Underground”.
And indeed it does. This 150th anniversary is one worth celebrating.
For British Pathé’s collection of clips on London Underground, click here.
The British Pathé Education service has been nominated for a 2013 BETT Award for its digital resource available to British schools and academies. For any of you who are interested, here’s a bit of information about the subscription.
You can also watch a demo of the subscription in action below:
If this is of interest to you or your school, you can find out more information here and get in touch with us.
Twice a month we blog about footage in the archive relevant to upcoming events or important anniversaries. There are always plenty, so we can only present a selection and you can search the archive for more at www.britishpathe.com
It will have been 100 years since the birth of Richard Nixon on 9th January 1913. The American President, who was disgraced by the Watergate scandal, features in a great many British Pathé newsreels. Explore them here.
85 years ago, the great writer Thomas Hardy died and his heart was buried separately from his body. British Pathé has footage of the burial of the heart in Dorset in 1928. Click here to view the newsreel.
We’ll be publishing a blog post all about this shortly, but we can’t miss it off this list of important anniversaries! British Pathé celebrates 150 years of the Tube with a collection of clips featuring construction footage dating from 1922. You can also see the tunnels used as air raid shelters during the Second World War, extensions of the lines in the late 1940s, and the work of cleaners and technicians after-hours. The innovations of the 1950s also get a look-in, while there is extensive coverage of the building of the Victoria Line, as well as its opening by the Queen. Click here to explore the collection.
Check back in two weeks for our next installment. In the meantime, you can visit www.britishpathe.com for more vintage films.
There’s been some sad news that the famous liner Queen Elizabeth 2 (or “QE2”) has been sold as scrap. [UPDATE: It appears that these headlines have been exaggerated. Although the QE2 has indeed been sold to the Chinese, there is no evidence that she will be scrapped.] She follows a great many other luxury vessels, such as Titanic’s nearly-identical sister ship Olympic, in this and it would come as little surprise had the announcement not been made in July that she was to become a hotel. The news is a great shame for ship-lovers. In tribute, then, to that great ocean voyager, we thought we’d share two newsreels about the QE2 from our collection (you can search the website for more).
The first is coverage from the launch of the QE2 in 1967. In the clip, the Queen examines the new liner, officially names it (seemingly after herself, though accounts differ as to whether the ship is intended as Queen Elizabeth the Second or the second Queen Elizabeth) and watches as the QE2 rolls down into the water. “May God bless her and all who sail in her.” It’s an impressive sight, as this image reveals:
The newsreel commentator ends with, “Like her great predecessors, the new liner will write a further chapter in the history of ocean travel.” Watch the film here.
The second we’d like to share is coverage of the QE2’s maiden voyage in 1969. The cameras take a brief tour and see the crew on the bridge of what is described as “the greatest ship of her type afloat”. She leaves Southampton and starts ploughing the sea as the passengers drink champagne and enjoy the journey below. Watch the film here.
After this maiden voyage, the QE2 went on to have a long and illustrious career. She left service in 2008 having carried 2.5 million passengers across nearly 6 million miles of water and had even taken part in the Falklands War. Plans to turn her into a floating hotel following her retirement failed, it is believed, due to the economic downturn.
From 1922 to 1969, British Pathé produced lengthy round-ups of the year’s news stories that collected together the most dramatic images and covered the most important events. Not confined to British politics, these reviews act as a whirlwind tour of the world at the time in which they were made, chronicling everything from war to royal christenings, technological innovations to key sports matches as they go. You can view the entire “Review of the Year” collection here or choose from the list at the bottom of this page.
Now, in that tradition, we take a look at the last 12 months in a review of 2012. Here are some highlights (one for each month) of this tremendous year for which the British Pathé archive holds some relevant footage:
Our review of 2012 begins with something that happened many years before, for January marked an important anniversary. 90 years ago, on 3rd January 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Egyptian pharoah Tutankhamun. British Pathé has footage of Carter outside his discovery, as well as coverage of the treasures found within. Click here to explore the collection.
It feels just like yesterday but it was in fact back in February that we all came out in celebration for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. There was a royal river pageant (a gallery of previous royal barges can be found here), a concert, a Royal Tour of the country, and street parties across the nation.
British Pathé’s celebration of the life of Elizabeth II can be found here. Beginning with the Queen as a young girl with her grandmother, it features her marriage, her coronation, the royal tours, select royal visits within Britain, and the home life of the Royal Family. The collection concludes with footage of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
In March, the economic situation in the UK looked no better. Unemployment reached its highest figure (2.67 million) since 1995, though it was still not as high as in 1984. The ups and downs of unemployment can be traced via newsreels in the British Pathé archive. Click here to explore.
The Cutty Sark re-opened to visitors after a dreadful fire. But in April we also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the loss of Titanic. The British Pathé archive contains not only footage of the legendary liner herself, but also of her great sister ships Olympic and Britannic, both of which had accidents of their own. You can explore our centenary collection or read about the footage in the blog post, Titanic and the Other Two.
Yet another important anniversary, this time of Amelia Earhart’s crossing of the Atlantic 80 years prior. Interestingly, an expedition was launched in 2012 in an attempt to discover her remains. We wrote a blog post about it that included links to various clips featuring that amazing personality.
On 14th June 1982, the Falkland’s War came to an end, with Britain having reclaimed sovereignty over the islands following an Argentine invasion. June 2012, therefore, marked 30 years since the conclusion of the conflict. We wrote about it in our blog post When the Falklands Were Forgotten, and you can view relevant footage in this collection.
One cannot think of 2012 without thinking of the Olympics. British Pathé has footage of many Olympic Games, including the two other London years, 1908 and 1948. We also digitised 300 Olympics clips, making them available on the website for the very first time. You can read about them here.
One of the highlights of 2012 was the Paralympic Games, which began at the end of August and were also held in London. The Paralympics started life in the British village of Stoke Mandeville and the Ninth Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games (1960) are now known as the first Summer Paralympics. British Pathé’s collection of material on the Stoke Mandeville Games can be viewed here.
Barack Obama accepted the nomination of the Democrats to run for re-election. He went on to win the 2012 Presidential Election and became the only Democrat to have won the popular vote twice since Franklin Roosevelt. You can see some clips from Roosevelt’s three presidential election wins here.
A YouTube sensation! Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier, leaping from a balloon 24 miles above the ground.
It was the Queen and Prince Philip’s 65th (blue sapphire) Wedding Anniversary in November, as well as the 20th anniversary of the Windsor Castle fire in what was the Queen’s “annus horribilis“. You can watch footage of the fire and A Day That Shook The World episodes on the British Royal Family in Crisis and the separation of Charles and Diana, or view the the announcement of the Queen’s engagement and the coverage of her wedding.
In the final month of 2012, the world received the news that Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William were expecting their first child. We took a guess at possible baby names in this gallery. You can also vote in our poll here.
Have we missed something important for which the British Pathé archive has relevant material? Leave us a comment. You can also search our Ten Most Popular Clips of 2012 and visit our tumblr and Pinterest pages which were launched this year.
We hope you enjoyed 2012 as much as we did. Here’s to 2013!