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Old 14 May 2013, 10:46 PM
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United Kingdom London in 1927

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Incredible colour footage of 1920s London shot by an early British pioneer of film named Claude Frisse-Greene, who made a series of travelogues using the colour process his father William - a noted cinematographer - was experimenting with. It's like a beautifully dusty old postcard you'd find in a junk store, but moving.

http://vimeo.com/7638752


London in 1927 from Tim Sparke on Vimeo.

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  #2  
Old 15 May 2013, 08:38 AM
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Ha ha! Those Americans and their obsession with buying things! Nothing changes, does it? We're still beating Australia at cricket, and the Houses of Parliament and the good old British bobby are still breathing the glamour of London into the furthest corners of Empire. You have to laugh...

I love old films of everyday street life like that. The other day, somebody linked to a video which was nothing but half an hour of somebody trying to drive around as much of Southsea (a suburb of Portsmouth, not far from where I grew up) as possible, shot through the windscreen of their car in 1982 or 1983. Even something that sounds as tedious as that, and is recent enough that I can remember the world looking that way, is bizarrely watchable. It's like Streetview, long before Google thought of it, and better because the images are moving.
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Old 15 May 2013, 10:20 AM
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I love the 20s clothes, especially the women's fashion.
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Old 15 May 2013, 10:43 AM
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Ha ha! Those Americans and their obsession with buying things! Nothing changes, does it? We're still beating Australia at cricket, and the Houses of Parliament and the good old British bobby are still breathing the glamour of London into the furthest corners of Empire. You have to laugh...
The idea of Americans buying up England's heritage reminded me of an important centenary this year - the passing of the 1913 act that set up the Ministry of Works (now English Heritage) to protect the UK's historic sites. It was passed in reaction to the sale of the whole of Tattershall Castle (!) in Lincolnshire. Already fireplaces had been removed ready for transport to the USA. Fortunately the bill was passed in time and Tattershall Castle is still in its proper place for all to see.

What struck me was how dirty a lot of the buildings were and you can almost breathe in the smoke and fumes. London is a lot cleaner and a healthier place to live in now.
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Old 15 May 2013, 11:00 AM
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There was a funny scene in an episode of Grand Designs where the heritage officer complained that the builder had changed the colour of the building. Actually, he had cleaned the bricks (London Stock) that made the facia of the building. Every building in the street was grey and this one was yellow/cream coloured.
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Old 15 May 2013, 11:30 AM
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What struck me was how dirty a lot of the buildings were and you can almost breathe in the smoke and fumes. London is a lot cleaner and a healthier place to live in now.
Yes, the river looks really filthy in that. It's not exactly clean-looking now, but you read a lot about how much cleaner and healthier it is at the moment than it's been for centuries. Interesting that there seems to be a visible difference, even.

Damian, that seems to happen occasionally. There was another story on the BBC recently about a couple who were told that the shade of pink they'd painted their house breached the heritage guidelines, when they claim they'd just repainted it the colour it had been before it faded.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-22380127

I must admit that I don't quite believe them, though, in that case. Pink (whitewash mixed with pig's blood, originally) is a traditional colour for "tied" cottages in many areas of the UK - it identifies the cottages as belonging to a particular manor. Adjacent manors would have used different pastel shades. I can't believe the planning officers wouldn't have known that, so I suspect that in this case, the problem was that they were meant to use a quite specific shade of pink but chose a noticeably different one which was brighter. You can tell even in the photo that the two parts of the building clash slightly.
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Old 15 May 2013, 11:54 AM
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I noticed the complete absence of mobile phones.
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Old 15 May 2013, 12:24 PM
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And yet people were still walking in front of the traffic!
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Old 15 May 2013, 01:05 PM
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What struck me was how dirty a lot of the buildings were and you can almost breathe in the smoke and fumes. London is a lot cleaner and a healthier place to live in now.
It was still almost 40 years till they banned coal fires and got rid of the smog that had killed thousands in the early fifties. An uncle of mine remembers it and said the change was incredibly fast - within months of the ban the air was clear, even in winter.
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Old 15 May 2013, 01:32 PM
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I like the little girl with the Peter Pan statue, wandering off instead of posing. Timeless.

I love old films of places and every day life. I don't know London well, though this is still enjoyable, so I tend to prefer videos and photos of Manchester or other places I know well, so I can see what the differences are beyond the people. One of my favourites, and I'm trying to find now and can't, was actually some holiday footage (I think in the 1920s?) of a man and his family going to various places around the Yorkshire Dales.

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It was still almost 40 years till they banned coal fires and got rid of the smog that had killed thousands in the early fifties. An uncle of mine remembers it and said the change was incredibly fast - within months of the ban the air was clear, even in winter.
Not in London, but my mum remembers being amazed when she saw the real colour of garden birds - not all a dusty black as she was used to. She said for a while they looked unnatural to her.
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  #11  
Old 15 May 2013, 01:48 PM
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Love it!

I especially liked seeing people walking around dressed like, well, people from the 1920s. Old photography and black and white footage is interesting, but it tends to look slightly unreal.

I'm amazed at how people would just walk right into moving traffic. All right, the vehicles were slower, but that doesn't mean there was no danger at all. Yet you see people walking right across the road without bothering to look at what's coming.
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Old 15 May 2013, 03:19 PM
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I was puzzled by the hordes of mostly men wandering around Petticoat Lane, while their wives "were home cooking Sunday dinner". I googled the area but it seemed to be like a garment district? What was the draw?
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  #13  
Old 15 May 2013, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Horse Chestnut View Post
I was puzzled by the hordes of mostly men wandering around Petticoat Lane, while their wives "were home cooking Sunday dinner". I googled the area but it seemed to be like a garment district? What was the draw?
London men traditionally wear petticoats on a Sunday.

Nah, Petticoat Lane was (and is) a famous market. Despite the name, it would sell all types of clothing and other wares as well.
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  #14  
Old 15 May 2013, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Blatherskite View Post
I'm amazed at how people would just walk right into moving traffic. All right, the vehicles were slower, but that doesn't mean there was no danger at all. Yet you see people walking right across the road without bothering to look at what's coming.
Mama, mama, what is that star
That looks like strawberry jam?
Hush, hush my dear, it is your pa
Run over by a tram


I thangyew
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  #15  
Old 15 May 2013, 10:30 PM
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The innocent days before the Web, when we needed nursery rhymes to tell us what people looked like when they'd been squashed by cars.
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  #16  
Old 15 May 2013, 11:45 PM
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Andrew of Ware, are you sure you haven't got the MoW mixed up with the Ancient Monuments Acts? The MoW is much later than 1913, I know that the MoW was absorbed into the Dept of Environment at some stage and that English Heritage, like Historic Scotland, came out of the DoE, but the MoW sort of survived as the PSA which was more concerned with the buildings that govt depts occupied.
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  #17  
Old 16 May 2013, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Twankydillo View Post
London men traditionally wear petticoats on a Sunday...
I think you mean lumberjacks.
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  #18  
Old 16 May 2013, 01:42 AM
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Raise your hand if you looked for a blue box.
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  #19  
Old 16 May 2013, 02:11 PM
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That scene at the Petticoat lane makes me wonder what those people were thinking. "WTF is this car coming down a mainly pedestrian lane?" "What is mounted on top of that car? A gun? A sonic blaster?" Makes me wish there was another camera filming the camera
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  #20  
Old 16 May 2013, 04:05 PM
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So did he film all of these from a car? The scene in Petticoat Lane had me wondering because the camera was obviously several feet above people's heads. I'd be curious to see what his setup looked like.
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