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.
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.