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.

Churchill: A Life on Film

24 January 2015 marks 50 years since the death of a man who dominated 20th century politics like no other – British Prime Minister and international statesman Sir Winston Churchill. Throughout his life, British Pathé’s cameras provided the world with a unique, visual insight into his character. The company documented his career from the Sidney Street Siege in 1911 to his state funeral and has archive of many of his speeches. In 2002, Churchill was named the greatest Briton of all time.

In honour of this anniversary, British Pathé has curated a definitive, visual archive of his career entitled Churchill: A Life on Film. We have organised this content by topic and event and have presented it on a single navigable page for the first time. Click here to begin exploring.

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New YouTube Welcome Video

Check out our new YouTube welcome video! We’ve gone for Dramatic with a capital D. What do you think?

We’ve appreciated your feedback since uploading our entire archive onto YouTube just a few months ago, and you’ll notice we’ve started making a few changes to our channel. We hope to take it forward while keeping the best of what’s been done before.

Do let us know in the comments section below of the sorts of things you want to see on our channel.

Subscribe now to the largest archive of history on YouTube. Follow us through the 20th Century and dive into the good and the bad times of the past. Feel free to explore more than 80,000 videos of filmed history and maybe you’ll even find stuff no one else has ever seen.

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New Web Series – NOW & THEN

We’ve launched a new series on the British Pathé YouTube channel in which we will compare life in the present to life in the past. It’s called Did You Know – Now & Then. The first episode covers the topic of smoking and the change in the perception of cigarettes over time. It takes you from the introduction of cigarettes in the Western world to smoking’s apotheosis as a social phenomenon, and to its fall in popularity in recent years.

Our second episode, on obesity, will be released shortly. Don’t forget to subscribe and to let us know your thoughts on the new series and what you want to see covered in future episodes.

You can watch episode one below.

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Centenary of the Rohilla Tragedy

It is 100 years since the WW1 hospital ship HMHS Rohilla sank off the coast of Whitby. The passenger steamer was part of the British Indian Steam Navigation Company fleet and was called up for service at the outbreak of the war. It ran aground in stormy seas a short time later with the loss of 83 lives. The British Pathé archive has footage of the sinking and the rescue effort.

Amazingly, Titanic survivor Mary Kezia Roberts was also aboard and survived the disaster. British Pathé also has coverage of Titanic survivors arriving in New York aboard the Carpathia. Titanic’s sister ship Britannic was also a hospital ship during the First World War and sank in 1916.

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Crime of the Century

It is 80 years since the arrest of Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the “Crime of the Century” – the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindberg’s baby son. Pathé News covered the story from beginning to end, and key films from the archive are presented below. The crime remains shocking even eight decades later.

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BABY ‘LINDY’ KIDNAPPED (1932)

Views of Charles Lindbergh’s home – just after his baby son was kidnapped – from a British Pathé newsreel released in cinemas on 14 March 1932. Unfortunately, the film ends abruptly and it appears the ending is lost.

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INTERVIEW WITH POLICE CHIEF (1932)

“Hopewell Police Chief First on Scene Tells of Lindy Kidnapping. Charles E Williamson declares note was found on window sill of baby’s nursery.” Interview.

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HOME MOVIE SHOTS OF BABY LINDY (1932)

“Surely the most detestable crime in history! Twenty months-old little ‘Charles Augustus’ Lindbergh, found murdered near his home – 2 months after his kidnapping.” Newsreel from 16 May 1932.

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WHERE BABY LINDBERGH WAS FOUND (1932)

Shots of the woodland where the body of the kidnapped child was discovered. Newsreel released in cinemas on 23 May 1932.

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LINDBERGH TRIAL SCENES (1935)

Colonel Charles Lindbergh arrives at court and witness Betty Gow avoids photographers at the trial of Bruno Hauptmann. This short item was part of British Pathé’s News in a Nutshell series and was released in cinemas on 7 January 1935.

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THE LINDBERGH BABY CASE (1935)

Scenes at Hauptmann’s trial at Flemington. N.J. for the murder and kidnapping, from a newsreel released in British cinemas on 14 January 1935.

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HAUPTMANN FOUND GUILTY (1935)

“Closing scenes of America’s most thrilling trial” from a 18 February 1935 edition of Pathé Gazette. Richard Bruno Hauptmann is found guilty for abduction and murder of aviator Colonel Charles Lindbergh’s baby. Dramatic examination of the witness in court.

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HAUPTMANN’S NEW LAWYER (1936)

Interview with Mr Samuel Liebowitz, new lawyer of the convicted murderer Bruno Hauptmann, in New York. The lawyer makes clear that Hauptmann could not have done the crime alone. Newsreel from 16 March 1936. Hauptmann was executed on 3 April.

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ADDITIONAL ARCHIVE

Even more footage of the case, including a brief interview with Hauptmann’s wife, is held in the archive than can be presented here. To watch this footage on the British Pathé main website, click this link.

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Celebrate Scotland

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.

Click here to begin exploring Scotland: The Heritage Collection.

Just some of the topics covered by the new collection.
Just some of the topics covered by the new collection.

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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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Britain Joins WW2

75 years ago this month: On 3rd September 1939, Britain declared war on Germany. This collection of vintage films from the British Pathé archive shows the preparations being made for war. The selection also includes a speech by President Roosevelt on his hope that the United States will not get involved.

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KING’S WAR SPEECH (1939)

 

Sound only material (no picture). A speech by King George VI on the outbreak of World War II. He talks about trying to find peace but that it is necessary to fight now that war has come. He calls on his people at home and across the seas to stand calm, firm and united. The National Anthem ends the broadcast.

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THIS COUNTRY IS AT WAR – MR CHAMBERLAIN 03/09/39 (1939)

 

Footage of preparations being made in Britain as a result of the outbreak of war. Various shots of Spitfires and Hurricanes in flight and of the fleet sailing. This newsreel was released in cinemas in Britain on 11th September 1939. Britain and France had declared war 8 days earlier. 

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WAR! (1939)

 

Footage of children being evacuated at the outbreak of the Second World War and European countries preparing to repel the Nazis. Also released in cinemas on 11th September 1939.

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PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT TALKS ABOUT THE WAR (1939)

 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives a speech on America’s neutrality in the conflict across the Atlantic, declaring his hatred for war but stating that he cannot ask all Americans to stay neutral, for even neutrals cannot close their conscience. As with the above newsreels, this was released in cinemas on 11th September 1939.

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75 years since WW2 began

September 2014 marks 75 years since the beginning of the Second World War, triggered by the invasion of the sovereign territory of Poland by the forces of Nazi Germany, in collaboration with the Soviet Union and Slovakia. Two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany in response.

This episode of the series A Day That Shook the World, a BBC / British Pathé co-production narrated by John Humphrys, briefly summarises the invasion.

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The Liberation of Paris

70 years ago this month: On 25th August 1944, the Battle for Paris was over and the city was free of its German occupiers. There are some excellent films in the archive showing the victory celebrations, the Allied advance through France, and life in Paris during the occupation, including footage of the French resistance.

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IT HAPPENED IN PARIS (1944)

 

Pathé Gazette cameraman Gaston Madru conceals a camera and films the streets of Nazi-occupied Paris in 1942. The footage he captured was shown to the public after the liberation of the city in this newsreel, released in cinemas on 18th September 1944.

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MEN OF THE MAQUIS (1944)

 

The story of the underground army of France with an exclusive personal narrative by the French actress Francoise Rosay. Released in cinemas on 10th April 1944.

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THE MAQUIS STRIKE (1944)

 

This film shows the French resistance uprising against a crumbling German occupation.

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FRENCH DOCTOR SPEAKS (1944)

 

A French doctor talks abut role of doctors during the German occupation. He talks about the treatment of Germans, problems with the Gestapo and medical progress in England and America. He speaks in English.

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GESTAPO TORTURE CHAMBER (1944)

 

French officials examine a Gestapo torture chamber and find chilling evidence of past tortures.

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PARIS DELIVERED (1944)

 

Dramatic scenes as allied troops liberate the city of Paris. The cameraman was Kenneth Gordon and the newsreel features an official broadcaster of the French delegation in London who gives his personal viewpoint of the liberation. Released in cinemas on 31st August 1944.

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COLLABORATOR’S HAIR CUT (1945)

 

This silent footage shows what was in store for Nazi collaborators after the liberation of France. French women have their heads shaved by the Maquis as punishment for cooperating with the German occupiers.

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Scotland: The Future’s Past

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”.

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SCOTS’ WHA’ HAE’! (1929)

 

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”.)

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AROUND SCOTLAND – ARBROATH (1947)

 

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.

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“THE STONE” RETURNS (1951)

 

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.

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P.M. FOR COMMONS (1963)

 

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.

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WW1: How It All Began

In this YouTube video, historian and broadcaster Dan Snow was challenged to answer the question “How did WW1 start?” – and to do so in only two minutes. See how he got on…

Today, 4 August 2014, marks the centenary of Britain’s entry into the First World War and the escalation of a horrific conflict which would last more than four years and cost the lives of millions worldwide.

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Eid Mubarak

British Pathé wishes a very happy Eid to Muslims worldwide. This vintage newsreel shows English Muslims attending celebrations at Woking Mosque in Surrey in 1926.

The lives of Muslims in Britain was well-documented by Pathé News. As well as the above Eid al-Fitr footage, there is news coverage of Ramadan, Eid al-Adha, and the opening of London’s first Mosque. For some reason the cameramen often seemed reluctant to travel further than Woking, but the films are nevertheless interesting and a selection of them can be viewed on the British Pathé website via this link.

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The Great War on YouTube

World War One changed everything. Through films in the British Pathé collection, we can see back into the past and remember the sacrifices of those who fought or suffered and look at the consequences of that terrible conflict. For the centenary commemorations, we have launched a new YouTube channel dedicated to archive footage from 1914 to 1918. There are also versions of the channel in German, Polish and Turkish. The channel trailers are viewable below.

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THE GREAT WAR

Every Thursday, our correspondent Indy will present a new video, constructing the ultimate history of that conflict, charting the course of the First World War from beginning to end

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DER ERSTE WELTKRIEG

Der Erste Weltkrieg veränderte alles. Vor genau 100 Jahren brach er aus. Das gibt uns den Anlass einen Blick in die Vergangenheit zu werfen und uns zu erinnern, was zu der schrecklichen Zeit passierte. ABONNIERT jetzt den Kanal DER ERSTE WELTKRIEG, um mit Christoph in die Vergangenheit zu reisen. Er zeigt euch jeden Donnerstag die Geschichte des Ersten Weltkrieges: Vom Anfang bis zum Ende. Zusammen folgen wir der Geschichte des Krieges in Echtzeit, Woche für Woche. Sodass wir im November 2018 die komplette Geschichte des Ersten Weltkriegs rekonstruiert haben werden.

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HISTORIA WOJNY NIEZNANEJ

Pierwsza Wojna Światowa zmieniła wszystko. Dziś – dokładnie 100 lat od jej wybuchu – przyglądamy się dziejom tego straszliwego konfliktu, śledząc jego losy tydzień po tygodniu.

Zapraszamy do subskrybowania naszego kanału ‘Historia Wojny Nieznanej’ którego prowadzący – Marek Kamiński – w każdy czwartek zabierze Was w podróż w przeszłość, prezentując historię tego przełomowego w dziejach nowoczesnej Europy konfliktu. Na Waszych oczach powstanie najbardziej kompleksowe kalendarium Pierwszej Wojny Światowej tworzone w czasie rzeczywistym – od lipca 2014 aż do listopada 2018.

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BIRINCI DÜNYA SAVAŞI

100 yıl önce Birinci Dünya Savaşı başladı ve her şeyi bütünüyle değiştirdi. Geçmişe bir yolculuk yapıp o korkunç zamanlarda neler olduğunu hatırlamamız için birçok neden var. BİRİNCİ DÜNYA SAVAŞI kanalımıza şimdi abone olun ve sunucumuz Hatice ile tarihe tanıklık edin. Hatice her Perşembe sizlere 1. Dünya Savaşı ile ilgili yeni şeyler gösterecek. Hep beraber savaşı en başından itibaren gün gün takip edeceğiz. 2018 Kasım’ında da Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nda tüm yaşananları tamamlamış olacağız.

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Versailles

This month marks 95 years since the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. British Pathé has footage of the delegates at the conference and of some of the repercussions of the treaty. There is also this later newsreel covering the lead-up to the Second World War: “The tragedy of 1938 was born in 1919 at Versailles”.

Some of the key films in the British Pathé archive are viewable below.

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1. TREATY OF VERSAILLES – PART ONE (1919)

The first two films in this collection, “Treaty of Versailles Part One” and “Part Two”, feature multiple newsreels related to the negotiations and signing of the treaty strung together across two reels.

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2. TREATY OF VERSAILLES – PART TWO (1919)

The first two films in this collection, “Treaty of Versailles Part One” and “Part Two”, feature multiple newsreels related to the negotiations and signing of the treaty strung together across two reels.

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3. FRENCH TROOPS OCCUPY FRANKFURT (1920)

Full title reads: “FRENCH EAGLES ACROSS THE RHINE. First pictures of the French occupation of Frankfort [sic].” A silent newsreel released in cinemas on 19th April 1920.

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4. GERMAN FLOATING DOCK (1920)

Full title reads: “ENORMOUS GERMAN FLOATING DOCK. 720 feet long with lifting capacity of 40,000 tons surrendered under Peace Treaty – arrives.” A silent newsreel released in cinemas on 13th September 1920.

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5. GRAVEYARD OF GERMANY’S AIR AMBITIONS (1920)

Full title reads: “The GRAVEYARD OF GERMANY’S AIR AMBITIONS. Immense numbers of machines and engines are being destroyed under terms of Peace Treaty”. A silent newsreel released in cinemas on 25th November 1920.

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6. THE BULLION PLANE (1925)

Full title reads: “The bullion ‘plane. 3 engined Junker monoplane arrives with cargo of bonds worth £10,000,000 consigned to Bank of England under Dawes Reparation Scheme. Croydon Aerodrome.” A silent newsreel released in cinemas on 29th August 1925.

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7. 12 YEARS AFTER VERSAILLES (1931)

Full title reads: “Germany. 12 Years After Versailles. Giant fortress of Kustrin which protects Berlin on East – one of the last now left in Germany – destroyed under terms of Peace Treaty.” A silent newsreel released in cinemas on 10th August 1931.

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Ageless Iraq

Basra – The Venice of the Middle East

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.

Afternoon sailing trip

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.

Baghdad – this could be a resort in any other holiday hot spot

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.

View both reels of Ageless Iraq below:

Iraq Before Saddam

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.

For those wanting more recent footage from Iraq’s history, these short overviews by John Humphrys document Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1991, Operation Desert Storm, the fall of Iraq during the 2003 invasion, and the capture of Saddam Hussein by US troops.

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1.  BAGHDAD AND BEYOND (c.1932)


The British mandate in Iraq came to an end in 1932 after twelve years. This film presents an intriguing picture of life in Iraq at around that time, including footage of the Iraqi army.

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2.  A ROYAL WELCOME (1933)


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.

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3.  IRAQ (1942)


This short little film provides a glimpse of life in Baghdad during the 1940s.

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4.  BOY KING OF IRAQ (1943)


Six-year-old King Feisal II tours a British military camp in Baghdad, Iraq with his uncle and regent Emir Abdul Illah. From the Second World War.

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5.  NEW OIL WEALTH FOR IRAQ (1952)


This newsreel concerns the opening of a new desert oil field near Basra by the Iraq Petroleum Company. The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri Pasha al-Said, can be seen in the film.

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6.  AGELESS IRAQ – PARTS ONE AND TWO (1954)


This longer film, split across two reels, was made for the Iraq Petroleum Co. in the 1950s and documents life in Iraq – its political history, traditions, industry, and its religious life.

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7.  KING FEISAL ENTHRONED (1953)


The Duke of Gloucester attends the enthronement of Iraq’s young King Feisal in Baghdad, 1953.

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8.  IRAQ BOMBSHELL (1958)


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.

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9.  BRITISH TROOPS DEFEND KUWAIT (1961)

Threatened by neighbouring Iraq, Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah of Kuwait seeks protection from British forces. News story with an American commentary.

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10.  FIRST PICTURES – REVOLT IN IRAQ (1963)

Prime Minister Kassem of Iraq is killed during a brief revolution in 1963. American commentary.

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Further Viewing
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.

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The Pathé World Cup Archives

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.

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 MIGHTY ENGLAND – 1966

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.

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PICKLES THE DOG FINDS THE WORLD CUP – 1966

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.

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HOW FOOTBALLS ARE MADE

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.
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1966 – IN-DEPTH

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Here’s our gallery of fun 1966 World Cup facts for those who want a more in-depth look at that fantastic year for English football: http://www.britishpathe.com/gallery/world-cup

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THE COMPLETE BRITISH PATHE WORLD CUP COLLECTION

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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.

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To everyone everywhere, enjoy the World Cup!

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The British Pathé D-Day Archives

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.


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D-DAY – THE GREATEST COMBINED OPERATION IN WORLD’S HISTORY

Another contemporary newsreel, longer than the first, really shows the scale of the Normandy landings, looking not just at the beaches but the operations at sea and in the air.


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A DAY THAT SHOOK THE WORLD: 6TH JUNE 1944

John Humphrys narrates this brief overview of D-Day in an episode of the series A Day That Shook the World, which British Pathé co-produced with the BBC.


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COLLECTIONS & GALLERIES

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.

Finally, we’ve also put together a new gallery of 10 Amazing D-Day Facts. Do take a look.

D-Day

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A message from British Pathé

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We’re absolutely thrilled to have gained so many new subscribers across our various social media channels over the last few weeks. Thank you all for supporting our upload of 85,000 films to YouTube – that’s more than most people can sift through in a lifetime!

Now that’s done, we’re dedicated to giving these videos a framework so that you can find exactly what you’re looking for. So keep your eyes peeled for our playlists and highlight videos – there’ll be a new one every week.

We’re sure there’s something for everyone in our archive and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Best wishes,
British Pathé
https://www.youtube.com/britishpathe

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

British Pathé releases 85,000 films on YouTube

YouTube release

Newsreel archive British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel. This unprecedented release of vintage news reports and cinemagazines is part of a drive to make the archive more accessible to viewers all over the world.

“Our hope is that everyone, everywhere who has a computer will see these films and enjoy them,” says Alastair White, General Manager of British Pathé. “This archive is a treasure trove unrivalled in historical and cultural significance that should never be forgotten. Uploading the films to YouTube seemed like the best way to make sure of that.”

British Pathé was once a dominant feature of the British cinema experience, renowned for first-class reporting and an informative yet uniquely entertaining style. It is now considered to be the finest newsreel archive in existence. Spanning the years from 1896 to 1976, the collection includes footage – not only from Britain, but from around the globe – ofmajor events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, sport and culture. The archive is particularly strong in its coverage of the First and Second World Wars.

Alastair White continues: “Whether you’re looking for coverage of the Royal Family, the Titanic, the destruction of the Hindenburg, or quirky stories about British pastimes, it’ll be there on our channel. You can lose yourself for hours.”

This project is being managed by German company Mediakraft, which has been responsible for numerous past YouTube successes. The company will be creating new content using British Pathé material, in English and in foreign languages.

You can view and share films from this invaluable resource here.

British Pathé presents: WW1 – The Definitive Collection

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August 2014 marks one hundred years since the start of World War One. To commemorate this landmark occasion, British Pathé has launched a definitive collection of WW1 films.

British Pathé holds one of the finest and most comprehensive First World War film archives in the world. There’s footage of trench warfare, zeppelin raids, battleships at sea, U-boats, protests, wartime propaganda, and countless other interesting subjects.

The collection has been organised by topic, event and protagonist, and for the first time presented on a single navigable page.

You can explore the collection here.

A sample image of the newly-created collection, organised by topic.
A sample image of the newly-created collection, organised by topic.

www.britishpathe.com

Holocaust Memorial Day

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“Germany’s crimes are no longer hidden from sight. At last the eyes of the world are opened. We believe it our duty to screen these pictures as a warning to future generations…” – Pathé News, 30 April 1945.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed on 27th January every year.

This British Pathé newsreel from 1945 was screened in the cinemas at the time. It exposed to the British public the true horrors of some of the atrocities that had been taking place in concentration camps.

View Film (distressing): ATROCITIES

www.britishpathe.com

The Railway Man

“The Railway Man” is a new feature film starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. It follows the true story of Eric Lomax, a POW forced to build the Thai/Burma railway during WW2. British Pathé has coverage of that railway and of other events from the life of Firth’s character.

There is a film from 1945 of the railway itself, known as the “Railway of Death”, which was not used in any newsreels, and is sadly silent, but is nevertheless interesting to watch (the film can be viewed here). Lomax was forced to build the railway after leaving Changi Prison, for which there is also footage in the archive. The reel, from the liberation of the prison in 1945, can be found in this collection.

Also included is coverage of the war in Singapore during 1942, for it was after that country’s surrender that Lomax was captured by the Japanese.

“The Railway Man”, based on Lomax’s autobiographical account, is released in the UK today.

Click here for British Pathé’s collection of films related to “The Railway Man”.

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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 Pope Visits the Holy Land

THE PAPAL PILGRIMAGE (1964).

It is 50 years since Pope Paul VI became the first pontiff to visit the Holy Land. British Pathé documented his journey in widescreen and Technicolor. The trip was brief, but historic. It took place on 4-5th January 1964. Click here to view the newsreel.

The archive also includes unused material that was not included in the final edit, as well as a black and white version of the film. If you’re interested, you can see those here.

2013 was a big year for the Papacy, with the resignation of Benedict XVI and the election of Francis as the increasingly popular 266th Pope. British Pathé has a substantial collection of footage for past pontiffs:

Benedict XV – died 1922

Pius XI British Pathé filmed the election of Benedict XV’s successor, who served from 1922 until his own death in 1939.

Pius XII – Pope from 1939 until 1958.

John XXIII – Pope from 1958 until 1963.

Paul VI Pope from 1963 until 1978.

View Paul VI’s visit to the Holy Land here.

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Bolton v Blackpool 1953

Happy New Year from everyone at British Pathé!

This weekend (Saturday 4th January 2014), Bolton Wanderers will play Blackpool in the third round of the FA Cup at the Reebok Stadium.

61 years ago, these two teams competed against each other in the 1953 FA Cup Final (the “Matthews Final”), with Blackpool coming out on top. The British Pathé archive has original newsreel coverage of that match. Click here to take a look.

We also have some silent footage from the game that never made it into the final edited newsreel:

Selected Originals #1 / Selected Originals #2

The archive holds a great many other FA Cup matches, including nearly every Final from 1920 to 1970, and all of these are viewable on the British Pathé website. A good tip: Don’t put the year of the match in the search box. Search for the team and filter by date afterwards using the year slider.

Let’s hope it’s a good game on Saturday!

Watch the 1953 Final here.

Untitled

 

Christmas Greetings

British Pathé wishes you a merry Christmas…from space! (1968).

With recent news reports about the competition between various nations to achieve victories in human space flight, it seemed appropriate to reissue, as we did last year, this Christmas message from the British Pathé staff of 1968, when the Space Race was in full swing. The words are no less relevant to today’s world, with its continued conflict and strife.

“The world seen from space is a small place. Even now we strive for the stars, but our Christmas wish is for peace and happiness to conquer our planet. We wish you all that is good, a very happy Christmas.”

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The brief clip is called “Christmas Greetings From Space” and can be viewed here.

And to get you in the Christmas spirit, you can also view this Christmas Collection of seasonal vintage films from Britain and around the world – including postal advice and soldiers celebrating Christmas on the Western Front during the First World War.

Xmas signature

www.britishpathe.com

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

Lest We Forget

Remembrance Sunday will shortly be upon us. The British Pathé archive is rich in footage from twentieth century conflicts. We share some select films in the collections listed below.

The First World War

British Pathé holds one of the finest and most comprehensive First World War archives in the world. You will find chilling shots of young troops huddled in their trenches, wearing gas masks, and going “over the top”, as well as battleships at sea, and aerial warfare. There is also footage of shell shock victims at Seal Hayne military hospital in Devon.

The above link is just a selection and you can find more than 2,000 relevant films by searching on our site.

WW1

The Second World War

The archives of World War Two material filmed by British Pathé are wide-ranging. Pathé cameramen went with the troops all around the world as well as documenting the destruction at home. Footage details warfare on land, at sea, and in the air.

A general Second World War Collection can be found here – just a selection of the 4,000 films available.

WW2

Korean War

The Korean War is often referred to as “The Forgotten War”. Two and a half million people lost their lives in this conflict, including many British soldiers. Our Korean War Collection (just a selection) can be found here, or you can search our website for what you need.

KOREA

Remembrance

As well as contemporary coverage of various remembrance events and religious services. A catalogue of our Remembrance Day footage can be found here, or you can search our website for more specific films. A particularly interesting one details the work of the Royal British Legion, and visits the factory in Richmond in which war veterans make poppies.

REMEMBRANCE

Remembrance Sunday is on 10th November. Remembrance Day is on 11th November.

www.britishpathe.com

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Why We Wear Poppies

As we approach Remembrance Day, that important anniversary on which we reflect on the great sacrifices of previous generations, it is interesting to look at the history behind its key symbol – the poppy. Why do we wear it, and how did this tradition come about?

The First World War was an earth-shattering global catastrophe that marked the end of the optimism of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. It was this “Great War” which first introduced the use of the red poppy (the papaver rhoeas) for the purpose of remembrance.

No Man's Land
No Man’s Land

No Man’s Land, a zone dividing the trenches of opposing forces, was heavily bombarded during trench warfare. The beautiful scenery and grasslands of France and Belgium were churned into wet mud and desolate wasteland. It was here that many brave men fell after going “over the top” to meet the flying bullets of enemy guns. And it was also here that, when the fighting had died down, poppies grew and spread in abundance, their blood-red colour in strong contrast to the brown muck. One of the most well-known references to this phenomenon comes in the war poem, “In Flanders Fields” by Lt Col John McCrae. One key line is:

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Earl Haig, supporter of the poppy and a founder of the Royal British Legion, visits wounded veterans at a hospital in 1921. Click the still to view the film.

These lines inspired their first use in the United States, where they were adopted by the National American Legion in 1920. It was not long before the wearing of poppies had spread to the United Kingdom, and it is here and in Commonwealth countries that the practice remains most common. Promoted by Douglas Haig, the poppies were soon widely worn on Remembrance Days. Made and sold by the Royal British Legion, the funds went – and still do today – to helping ex-servicemen and women and their families.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, visits the Richmond factory in 1939 to watch the workers manufacture the poppies that were an important feature of remembrance even before the Second World War. Click the still to view the film.
War veterans make poppies at the Royal British Legion factory in Richmond, 1941. Click the still to view the film.
War veterans make poppies at the Royal British Legion factory in Richmond, 1941. Click the still to view the film.

An item in the British Pathé archive details the making of poppies for distribution by the British Legion. It was filmed at the Richmond poppy factory which employed disabled ex-servicemen to construct the huge number of poppies needed every year. At the time the newsreel was produced (in 1968), the factory had 300 staff and manufactured 13 million poppies per annum. To achieve such a mammoth task, the servicemen worked all year round.

Today, the factory produces as many as 36 million poppies per year, though the number of employees is only a fraction of what it once was.

The still to above shows a workman punching out the poppy shapes from a sheet of linen.
The cut-out shapes of linen are placed together and pressed into a mold.
The stalk is then applied, a thin strip of green fabric wrapped around a metal wire, before…
…the individual poppies are arranged into a wreath.

The full film also details the other stirling work done by the British Legion. It can be viewed by clicking here.

There’s been some controversy in recent years about the wearing of poppies and their meaning. There are also rival poppies – the white poppy for pacifists, and the purple poppy to remember animal victims of war. But the traditional red poppy is no doubt here to stay, and serves as a reminder of great courage and sacrifice, not just by those of the past, but by our countrymen and women who still fight for our safety in ongoing conflicts around the world today.

We will remember them.

Going “over the top”.

British Pathé has a substantial collection of war footage. Search our website www.britishpathe.com.

This article was originally posted, with minor differences, on October 31, 2012 as “Poppies: An Illustrated History”.

British Pathé in East Midlands Schools

bp_edu_printBritish Pathé Education, the world-famous newsreel archive, and East Midlands Public Services Network (emPSN), supplier of internet connectivity and services to 1000 schools and 1000 corporate sites in the region, have agreed a contract that will secure the continued availability of high-quality resources to teachers throughout Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham City and Rutland.

The service, which supports both primary and secondary schools, enables teachers to enrich their pupils’ understanding of Britain and its past. It also includes a wealth of material specifically related to the East Midlands.

Under the agreement, British Pathé Education provides all schools served by emPSN with the ability to download an unlimited number of films and still images from an archive of 90,000 newsreels, documentaries and cinemagazines. Access is via a unique website viewable only by subscribed schools. This site, in addition to being free of all advertising, contains value added content such as film collections created according to the curriculum. Teachers also have the ability to create and share their own collections.

It is hoped that teachers and pupils will make use of the films and still images available in a variety of ways, including in lessons (history or otherwise), pupil projects, assemblies, and even school plays – “basically, whatever they can think of,” says Alastair White, General Manager of British Pathé Education. “It’s a very versatile resource and an invaluable learning tool, especially with the centenary of the First World War approaching.”

Jane Barker for emPSN said, “We know schools have valued their access to British Pathé for the last 10 years, soPrint we are pleased to be able to continue this offer to schools on a continuing basis. We look forward to the feedback from schools. It’s a terrific tool for teachers that should prove very popular.”

Alastair White agrees: “It’s a treasure trove that you can lose yourself in for hours at a time and it’s great that emPSN really understand the educational benefits of filmed history.” Mr White continues: “The only disappointing thing is that those schools who have opted out of emPSN won’t be receiving this service. However, we’re more than willing to offer schools the chance to subscribe individually if any are missing out.”

The resource is available now.

For further information, please contact British Pathé Education on 020 7665 8340 or email info@britishpathe.com. Visit British Pathé’s website at: http://www.britishpathe.com.

History in My Back Yard

Vast new audiences – journalists, historians, teachers and bloggers – have been actively mining the British Pathé archive since it went online in 2008.

Chris Holme, of the History Company, describes how one clip has shed completely fresh light on his own backyard:

At first glance, it looks as dull as dishwater – female Polish soldiers on parade in Scotland in 1943. No sound, monochrome, and no hint about provenance or location.

Looking more closely, the road seems strangely familiar, then the name of the hotel and finally the beach.  This is when the penny finally dropped this was Gullane – and they were marching through to sand dunes through the fields where our house and others would be built forty years later.

Polish women troops in Gullane. The location had remained unidentified for years.
Polish women troops in Gullane. The location had remained unidentified for years.

The film also has wider intrinsic interest – newsreels often show troop formations but rarely individual soldiers in close up. And even more rarely women soldiers in such detail and with such intimacy.

So it is a real, undiscovered gem – particularly for those who might now recognise their granny as a younger woman in khaki.

Newsreel archives have traditionally provided visual backdrops for documentary makers – sometimes offering genuinely new insight or just period wallpaper for a tired script.

Putting them online has opened up a whole new vista and worldwide audience who can look at the films for their intrinsic worth and add perspective and context.

I found two films of the Irish Free State football team in 1924 playing Celtic and the USA. At first glance, just lots of guys chasing a ball. But they also say a lot about the development of the Free State following the civil war.

It is also the first glimpse of Celtic playing overseas, the most travelled British club of that era and the Americans whose footballers were also much better behaved than the American rugby team. Both did well at the 1924 Paris Olympics, apart from a riot at the final against France and subsequent dropping of rugby as an Olympic sport – the USA are still the reigning Olympic rugby champions!

There is more, much more to discover, whatever your interest. And there may even be a film that shows your own back yard. Words by Chris Holme of The History Company.

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The Polish Women Troops film can be viewed here.

Explore the British Pathé archive at www.britishpathe.com

or visit Chris Holme’s History Company site.

The Munich Pact – 75 Years

September 2013 marks the 75th anniversary of the Munich Agreement attempted to halt Europe’s march to war. British Pathé has a great deal of footage relevant to this anniversary. Click the links below to take a look.

Chamberlain at Berchtesgaden 

Two films are included in this WorkSpace featuring Chamberlain heading off to Berchtesgaden to meet with Hitler to discuss the fate of Czechoslovakia.

Chamberlain’s Second Trip to Meet Hitler

Chamberlain returns from his second visit to Germany.

Munich Agreement

These six vintage newsreels cover the Sudeten crisis as it was at the end of September, Chamberlain leaving for Munich, the Munich conference itself, and the signing of the Agreement by Germany, Italy, France and Britain. There’s also a brief biography of Neville Chamberlain from October 1938, celebrating him as “Man of the Hour”.

Chamberlain signs the Munich Agreement.
Chamberlain signs the Munich Agreement.

www.britishpathe.com

The Notting Hill Race Riots, 1958

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55 years ago, from 29th August – early September, the streets of London witnessed what Pathé News at the time rightly labelled a “shameful episode”. More than three hundred people suddenly attacked West Indian immigrants living on Bramley Road in Notting Hill, London.

British Pathé produced a short newsreel on the attacks. The film has a very different tone to the sort of news broadcasts one would see on television today, at least in Britain. It is an angry denunciation of the riots, containing a particularly powerful commentary which is worth repeating in full:

Something new and ugly raises its head in Britain. In Notting Hill Gate, only a mile or two from London’s West End – racial violence. An angry crowd of youths chases a negro into a green grocer shop while police reinforcements are called up to check the riot, one of many that have broken out here in a few days. The injured victim, a Jamaican, is taken to safety. But the police have not been able to reach all the trouble spots so promptly and the quietest street may flare up at any moment. The most disturbing feature of the riots is the suspicion that not all the troublemakers are locals, for some of the gangs who break windows or throw bottles or burning torches have arrived by car. Opinions differ about Britain’s racial problems. But the mentality which tries to solve them with coshes and broken railings has no place in the British way of life. This violence is evil and the law and public opinion must stamp it out.

The 1958 newsreel can be viewed online here.

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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Tensions Over Gibraltar

Citizens of The Rock take to the streets to campaign during the referendum over the sovereignty of Gibraltar in 1967.
Citizens of The Rock take to the streets to campaign during the referendum over the sovereignty of Gibraltar in 1967.

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.

Find all the clips via this link.

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.

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Our Falkland Islands collection includes coverage of the 1982 war.

www.britishpathe.com

Prince Johan Friso, 1968-2013

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.

Prince Friso also makes an appearance at Queen Juliana’s birthday celebrations in 1969 along with King Willem-Alexander as a toddler.

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www.britishpathe.com

New Video: Ten Tragedies Caught On Film

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

A Prince Is Born!

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Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son. His Royal Highness is third in line to the thrones of 16 independent nations.

Here is British Pathé’s 1948 announcement of the birth of Prince Charles:  View Film

www.britishpathe.com

Images From The Archive

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NEW BLOG!

One of our archivists has set up a new blog site dedicated to the best images from the British Pathé collection. There’s only a few up there so far, but with a new one added each day, it’ll be sure to quickly become quite a gallery.

Unlike the company’s Facebook or Pinterest pages, the images on the new blog, Archivist @ British Pathé,  are shown free of all description or context, allowing the images to speak for themselves. Some of them, out of context, seem really quite bizarre! Which is, of course, part of the fun. Take this one – “A Bath With A View” (1931). But each image has a link to the original newsreel which you can watch online and find out what it’s all about and see if you’ve guessed correctly.

We hope you enjoy the images. Take a look at the new blog here.

Blog

imagesfromthearchive.wordpress.com

British Pathé Picks: July 2013

Here are some things in the archive that may be of interest to you over the next few weeks. Click on the links to take a look.

2013 British Open   (18 July)

The 142nd Open Championship takes place this month in Scotland. British Pathé’s coverage of past events can be seen on our website via this link.

Wiley Post Flies Solo   (22 July)

80 years: Wiley Post was the first to fly solo around the world. British Pathé has two newsreels covering the historic flight in this collection.

Bombing of Hamburg   (24 July)

It is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hamburg in Operation Gomorrah. Shots of the RAF and USAF raids and the devastation wrought can be found here.

Korean War Truce  (27 July)

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.

www.britishpathe.com

Ancestors of Kate Middleton Found On Film

Sir Charles Lupton (Kate's great-great-great uncle) leads a group of men, including Kate's great-great-grandfather, in reviewing troops in Leeds, 1915.
Sir Charles Lupton (Kate’s great-great-great uncle) leads a group of men, including Kate’s great-great-grandfather, in reviewing troops in Leeds, 1915.

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.

Princess Mary climbs into her car after meeting the Lord Mayor (left) and Lord Mayoress (right) of Leeds. These are Kate Middleton's great-great-great aunt and uncle.
Princess Mary climbs into her car after meeting the Lord Mayor (left, holding his top hat) and Lady Mayoress (right) of Leeds. These are Kate Middleton’s great-great-great aunt and uncle.

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. 

Isabella Lupton (centre), the great-great-great aunt of the Duchess of Cambridge.
Isabella Lupton (centre), the great-great-great aunt of the Duchess of Cambridge.

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.

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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TV Ads: British Pathé’s Forgotten Work

There’s an interesting film in the archive concerning the production of television commercials by Associated British-Pathé (as the company was known from 1933 to 1958). It is introduced by McDonald Hobley, better known for his work with the BBC, who takes the audience – in this case, prospective clients – on a tour of Pathé’s Wardour Street studio, the newsreel archive, and the history of the company. This presentation, entitled Introducing Ourselves, was intended to show advertisers the good work that Pathé could do on television commercials, a new media they had begun to exploit only eighteen months previously (circa 1954).

As Hobley’s presentation reveals, Pathé produced about two hundred commercials a year and some of them are included in the film as a showreel. Hobley tries to limit expectations of the selection, not terribly convincingly, by describing the choice as “random…Not necessarily the best that we have produced, but we have tried to limit our selection to those which offer the types of production which we feel will appeal to you – the advertisers – in this area.”

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Some of the ads are really quite entertaining and worth a watch, if you can stomach twenty-five minutes of what we’re now used to just fast-forwarding through. The showreel begins with Dunlop Tubeless Tyres, then moves on to: Max Factor’s Top Secret hair spray, Dunkies doughnuts, Guards Trousers, Amami Wave Set, Hiltone, Mum antiperspirant, Brylcreem, Disprin, Twinings Teas, Maxwell House coffee, Black & Decker tools, another Maxwell House ad, Burtons trousers, Hi Fi Lipstick from Max Factor, Mac Fisheries, Blackstone Opticians, Electrolux vacuum, Fred Fearnley Ltd.  Scooters and Motorcycles,  Scentinel Quiff air freshener, D.D.D., Dinneford’s, Setlers, Fray Bentos, an ad for bread, Bristow’s Hair Tonic, Tide detergent, Wm Younger’s Beer, another Fray Bentos commercial, Heinz, Brylcreem again, Peter Robinson, another for Dunlop, Huntley and Palmers, M & B BitterTide, and Esso Extra.

What’s somewhat odd is that there appears to be some additional later footage tacked onto the end of the presentation. This dates from the 1970s, and must have been added to the film when the archive was under EMI ownership. These are a trailer for Love Story, starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal and a “rather fab” Chrysler Sunbeam ad from 1978.

Introducing Ourselves is valuable for its enticing glimpse behind the scenes of Pathé in the 1950s, the way in which the newsreel archive has by then already been deemed of historical significance worthy of preservation, and for including the only – at least in our collection – examples of Pathé’s commercial work, often forgotten due to the organisation’s usual focus on cinema news and theatrical films.

Watch Hobley’s introduction and behind-the-scenes footage in Part One here.

Watch the various commercials in Part Two of the presentation here.

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British Pathe: A Witness To Terrorism, 1919-1972

Terrorism is nothing new. As early as 1885 the first bomb exploded on the London Underground. Even before then, terrorist groups had made their respective marks – the People’s Retribution in Russia, the Jacobins in France, Guy Fawkes and his Gunpowder Plot, the Scarii Zealots of Judea. The list is endless, the victims countless, the motives diverse.

Though the British Pathé archive is limited to the years 1895-1979, there is an overwhelming collection of material related to terrorist attacks. This post, along with our new gallery, presents just a few examples from that period, using images taken from contemporary newsreel footage.

Click the stills to view the original film.

New York, USA (1919)

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Probably the earliest film in the archive concerning an act of terrorism, the footage from which this image is taken features just one of a series of bombings during 1919 carried out in many American cities by anarchists aiming to bring down the “tyrannical institutions” of the State.

It is not clear from British Pathé’s records exactly what this image shows, but it is possibly the ruined home of Judge Charles C. Nott, Jr. on 151 East 66 Street, which was a target of the terrorists. Although Nott was unhurt, one night watchman, who had seen a suspicious package left on Nott’s doorstep and had gone over to investigate, was killed when it went off in his hands.

As well as in New York, bombs were detonated in seven other cities and thirty-six letter bombs were posted, though many were intercepted before they could explode.

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New York, USA (1920)

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The same anarchists were allegedly behind this 1920 attack on Wall Street, the financial heart of the United States of America, though no group actually claimed responsibility and the perpetrators were never caught. In this case, explosives were hidden in a wagon which exploded at lunchtime on 16th September, killing 38 people along with the horse that was pulling the deadly vehicle. A further 143 were injured.

Footage shows the confused aftermath of the bombing, the police presence, and some of the bodies of the victims laid out on the pavement. Evidence of the blast can still be seen on some of the buildings today.

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Liverpool, UK (1920)

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Later that same year, England was also targeted, this time by Irish republicans, in the midst of the Irish War of Independence.

This image is taken from a newsreel announcing “Sinn Fein outrages” in which “agents” of the group set warehouses alight across Liverpool and the suburb of Bootle – 27 fires in all. Police officers were shot during the incident, along with a young passer-by named Daniel Ward. Five men were arrested.

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New York, USA (1927)

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On 6th August 1927, two bombs detonated in the New York City subway. This image reveals some of the damage done, along with workmen hurriedly repairing a station.

The attack was again the work of anarchists. It was carried out in retaliation for the trial of the Italian anarchists Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti who were executed later that month in Boston.

At least one person died in the bombing, with others wounded.

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Germany (1931)

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Political agitators blew up this train travelling from Berlin to Frankfurt in early August 1931. Newsreel footage shows the derailed carriages and the damage done to the tracks by the bomb blast.

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London, UK (1939)

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This image is from just one of many terrorist attacks in London during 1939 carried out by the Irish Republican Army, or IRA. Investigators comb through the rubble looking for evidence after an explosion at the Central Electricity Board building in Southwark. A pedestrian was killed.

Leicester Square and Tottenham Court tube stations, shops in Piccadilly, an aqueduct, and Hammersmith bridge were also subsequently targeted. All were documented by Pathé News and relevant films can be found in this collection. Not covered by British Pathé were additional incidents at various banks, King’s Cross and Victoria station. Seamus O’Donovan, who had drawn up the attack plans, later noted that the bombing campaign “brought nothing but harm to Ireland and the IRA.”

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Rehovot, Palestine (1947)

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Another railway bomb, this time in Palestine – one of numerous attacks by Jewish militants during 1947. The aims of the “Irgun”, the group responsible for the attacks, were to force the British to withdraw from Palestine (where they had been stationed since defeating the Ottoman Empire during the First World War) and to bring about the creation of an independent Jewish state. On 14th May 1948, David Ben-Gurion would declare the establishment of the state of Israel. Britain officially recognised the new nation on 28th April 1950.

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Simpang Tiga, Malaysia (1947)

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A devastated rubber factory caused by terrorist occupation in the small town of Simpang Tiga. Footage shows locals walking through the debris.Throughout the 1940s, Malaysia was troubled by violence as communist groups sought to expel the British from the Malayan peninsular.

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Jaffa, Palestine (1948)

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Another attack by the “Irgun”, this time in the town of Jaffa, on 4th January 1948. The headquarters of the Arab National Committee and several surrounding buildings were destroyed.

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New York Nabs the “Mad Bomber”, USA (1957)

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In this image, George Metesky stands smiling behind bars after his arrest by New York police. Metesky had been responsible for twenty-two explosions in the early 1940s and throughout the 1950s at public places in New York City, such as libraries and cinemas. He planted a further eleven which never went off. His motive was anger. After an industrial accident left him injured and without a job, he sought revenge on both the company he had worked for (Consolidated Edison) and the public at large.

Known as the “Mad Bomber”, Metesky was never tried for his crimes and was committed to a mental hospital. Eventually released in 1973, he died in 1994 at the age of 90.

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Algiers, Algeria (1962)

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On 20th April 1962, three plastic explosives were detonated in the capital of Algeria. Luckily, no one was killed. The attack was the work of Organisation de l’armée secrète (or OAS). This French terrorist organisation hoped to stop Algeria from becoming an independent nation, free from French colonial rule, which the Algerian National Movement had been fighting for since 1954. The OAS failed, and that same year the Algerian War came to an end with a new People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria entering the international arena.This silent, unedited and unused footage features devastated buildings and burnt out cars, probably in front of the Algiers Rectorate of the University.

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Zarka, Kingdom of Jordan (1971)

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This image is from the Dawson’s Field hijackings by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in September 1971. In the incident, five planes were hijacked and forced to Dawson’s Field, an airstrip in Zarka, Jordan. Amazingly, not one of the 310 hostages were killed. They were released in exchange for four PFLP members – three serving sentences in Switzerland and one in British custody.

The plane featured in this still is British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) Flight 775. It is taken from raw, unedited and silent footage in the British Pathé archive. In the film, Swissair and BOAC planes land in Beirut before being forced to take off again for Dawson’s Field by the hijackers while police and security officials watch helplessly nearby.

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Belfast, UK (1972)

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This telling still of a burning bus derives from a film in the British Pathé archive entitled “IRA Outrages In Northern Ireland”. Although there is no paperwork accompanying the film that can accurately date and identify the three seemingly separate events depicted in it, one of our Facebook followers provided some helpful information. This image specifically is probably from the Bloody Friday attack on the Ulsterbus depot on Oxford Street during the afternoon of 21st July 1972. A total of twenty-two explosions across Belfast caused carnage that day. Nine people were killed.

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After 1972

The British Pathé archive ends in 1979. However, the series A Day That Shook The World, co-produced with the BBC, covers important world events up to the year 2006. It therefore includes additional acts of terror not originally filmed by the Pathé cameramen. The relevant episodes can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

British SAS storm Iranian Embassy in London (1980)

IRA attack on British Government (1984)

Lockerbie Pan-Am jet explosion (1988)

Oklahoma terrorist attack (1995)

World Trade Center (2001)

Beslan School Siege (2004)

London bombings (2005)

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View the Twenty Acts of Terror Gallery on the British Pathé website. Additional films can be found by searching the archive database.

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