Joining in the habit of releasing old footage from news archives and putting it online to earn a crust of advertising is the Associated Press, with their British Movietone news reels.
Some are just “stock footage” which might be used in other clips, some are full blown news reports of events happening.
A trawl through finds some wonderful flypasts over London, and a remarkable tourist guide, but my favourites are below:
Rebuilding London (silent)
Tower blocks. Building near St Paul’s Cathedral – good footage. Models of buildings for City of London near St Paul’s
The official opening of the new London Bridge by Her Majesty the Queen. The opening was followed by a Royal walkabout.
London air views in colour – part of the last Movietone newsreel issue
The Changing Face of London (silent)
Good shots of construction work, new buildings, regeneration of London in early 1950s. GV French Church – Soho Square. Carver / stonemason – various shots of working on arch of church. Group gathered in front of church – speech is made (mute). Women and religious leaders sing a song. Lord Mayor goes inside church. Westminster Hospital being demolished. Various shots workmen
London’s Last Tram
Astonishing scenes accompanied the final journey of the very last tram. It was driven by Mr Cliff, Deputy Chairman of the LTE, and the official valediction was pronounced by the LTE Chairman, Lord Latham.
Modern London (not so modern now)
Waterloo Station ??, London – Trains at platform. 1 train moves off (Network South East). Train coming in. Train out of station. Train past camera. Train coming in as 1 is going out. Several trains in. Traffic along Regent Street, London? – ‘Lilleywhites’ seen. Bus towards camera, driver pulls a funny face. Traffic past ‘Lilleywhites’. People going into underground station. Underground trains coming into station and out again. Various interior shots of Spitalalfields Market. Shots of activities within the market. Fruit and vegetables being moved etc. Exterior shots of fruit and veg being moved on forklift trucks. Shots of boxes. MCU Spitalfields Market sign. Van being loaded – General activity. Lorry’s vans etc outside. Tracking shot past market, past vans etc.
London Buses Home from America
A reception party on the Horse Guards Parade, welcomed back to London three London Buses which have been touring the United States and Canada. Mr Lennox-Boyd, Minister of Transport and Lord Latham, of the London County Council were there to receive them.
London Underground Train Crash
In the worst accident in the history of the London Underground System, eight people lost their lives and many were injured.
Building the “BT Tower”
A new GPO telephone-television tower is going up alongside the old one (which it will eventually replace), just off Tottenham Court Road, in London’s West End. It’s being built because of the increasing interference with wave lengths caused by London’s ever-growing skyline. It is only 200 ft at the moment, but will eventually be 260. Without doubt the tallest “beanstalk” in London, it will include an observation platform, and a revolving glass-walled restaurant.
More videos on the British Movietone channel.