Goodbye from British Pathé

Friends and loyal followers,

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.

Click here to visit the new British Pathé blog.

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 info@britishpathe.com, leaving a comment beneath this post, or connecting with us via Facebook Twitter.

Our very best wishes,

British Pathé

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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.

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Invented in World War One

In two new videos from Indy (our man in cyberspace), British Pathé presents some inventions that were rather surprisingly developed for the First World War – all of which we still use today! View the videos below.

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20 Years of the Channel Tunnel

The Channel Tunnel opened on 6th May 1994 (this month marks its twentieth anniversary), but it was being discussed for decades prior. British Pathé chronicled some of the early discussions. These films from the British Pathé archive, available on YouTube, allow you to follow the development of the project from 1936 to 1968.

1. THAT CHANNEL TUNNEL (1936)

Various shots of William Low’s design for a Channel Tunnel.

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2. CHANNEL TUNNEL – YES OR NO? (1957)

Investigation into prospects of building undersea link between Britain and France.

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3. TUNNEL OR BRIDGE? (1961)

Pathé shows both sides of the Tunnel or Bridge argument over crossing the English Channel.

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4. CHANNEL ARGUMENT (1961)

New Model of the Channel Tunnel Project is shown to journalists in London.

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5. LATEST ON CHANNEL LINK (1963)

Hopes for the Channel link renewed in England and France – NO SOUND.

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6. CHUNNEL WILL BE FIRST RATE – MARPLES (1964)

Transport Minister Ernest Marples inspects plans for the Channel Tunnel.

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7. LOUIS ARMAND ENTERS FRENCH ACADEMY (1964)

Channel tunnel engineer Armand is welcomed at a ceremony as head of the French Academy.

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8. FRENCH CHANNEL TUNNEL SURVEY UNDER WAY – DOVER (1965)

Investigations undertaken for channel tunnel – NO SOUND.

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9. CHANNEL TUNNEL (1968)

A look at plans for a Channel Tunnel, plus some other ways of getting across.

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View more films on the British Pathé YouTube channel. For licensing, please contact info@britishpathe.com

http://www.britishpathe.com

Lady Mary Heath, Pioneer

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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.

All three films can be found in this collection.

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The Wright Brothers’ First Flight

A brief introduction to the (non-existent) British Pathé footage of the Wright Brothers’ First Flight.

There has been a bit of confusion over the years regarding British Pathé’s collection of Wright Brothers footage. The famous siblings flew successfully for the first time 110 years ago this month (on 17 December 1903). Sadly, only photographs exist to document this historic achievement.

However, this didn’t stop British Pathé from cheekily claiming in a film to have footage from 1903. A newsreel released in 1927 purports to take the viewer “back to 1903 to see one of Wilbur Wright’s first flights”. This may not be a deliberate deception – the text does say one of Wilbur Wright’s first flights” – but the footage has nevertheless been lifted from another newsreel which, according to the contemporary captions in the film itself, was shot on 18 December 1908. (The similarities in the dates of the two flights probably haven’t helped here either.) The film features some really great shots of the plane being prepared prior to take off as well as the flight itself. You can view it here.

Not quite true.
Not quite true.

The mistake happened again in the 1990s when the BBC/British Pathé series A Day That Shook The World chronicled the “Wright Brothers’ First Flight”, again making use of the 1908 material. The intentions were probably more honest than in 1927 and it is likely to be a genuine error based on a long history of errors! (You can judge for yourself here).

But footage or no footage, the Wright Brothers’ maiden flight was a landmark in the history of human progress which deserves celebration and any filmed document of the siblings’ achievements should be cherished.

The archive also contains a German retrospective on a 1909 Wright Brothers flight in Berlin and a 1912 acrobatic display by the siblings in St. Louis, attended by Teddy Roosevelt.

www.britishpathe.com

Inventing the Helicopter

Helicopters have matured from unsteady, erratic machines that struggled to lift the pilots off the ground, into stylish contraptions with exceptional flying capabilities. Pathé recorded some of these early trials in which inventors desperately tried to get their machines to get off the ground.

View our NEW GALLERY here.

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The Mallard – 75 Years

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.

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DRIVER JOSEPH DUDDINGTON

Duddington drove the Mallard during its record-breaking run. In this film from 1944, Duddington drives the famous train one last time before his retirement.

MALLARD AT DONCASTER WORKS

This 1964 newsreel features some nice close-ups of the train and we get a glimpse inside the driver’s cabin.

ROLLING STOCK EXHIBITION FILM 1 & FILM 2

The Duke of Edinburgh pays a visit to the Rolling Stock Exhibition in Marylebone in 1961 and takes a look at the Mallard on show in these two films from the archive.

MALLARD STEAMS AWAY

The “Mallard”, pulls out of a station before travelling at high speed down the line in this montage of steam power from the 1970s.

Mallard

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