5 jaw-dropping films of old London from the British Pathé archive
17:30 19 April 2014
Newsreel archivists British Pathé have deluged their entire collection of 85,000 films on to YouTube – and the impact on your productivity is going to be catastrophic.
London alone offers rich pickings in the enormous archive – from ridiculous footage of a chimp dressed in a suit cycling around the capital, to sobering shots of blitz-hit Walthamstow. Here are some of our favourites.
1. A piggyback race in Brixton from 1937 (who says news is dumbing down?).
2. Here’s footage, from the same year, of a London Zoo Ball, which is exactly what sounds like.
3. This 1966 video tries to tempt tourists to visit the capital with views of a “water motorbike” on the Thames and Peter Sellers driving out of a cake.
4. In a collection of such size, you’re also quite likely to find footage from your local area, such as these harrowing clips of destruction in Walthamstow following a V1 bomb attack in 1944.
5. And of course there’s this video of a chimp dressed as a man cycling a push bike, which the archivists hilariously offer without any context.
General manager of British Pathé Alastair White said: “Our hope is that everyone, everywhere who has a computer will see these films and enjoy them.
“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.”