Friday, November 25, 2011

London to Grantham in colour from 1939

You asked, I listened.

This amateur film from 1939 records a trip north from London along the A1 - or the Great North Road as Lord Bonkers still calls it. The presence of an ARP banner and a barrage balloon suggests that war had already been declared, though an article on the development of Balloon Command suggests they had been deployed over London as early as 1936.

The film starts at Baker Street and then Regent's Park, before leaving London. It shows Stevenage, Biggleswade, Eaton Socon, Buckden, Stilton, Stamford, Great Casterton and Grantham - though I can't spot Roberts the Grocer.


Simon Titley said...

Roberts the Grocers was on the Great North Road in Grantham, but just north of the town centre, so anyone finishing their journey in the town centre would have stopped a few hundred yards short of it.

The original building - on the corner of North Parade and Broad Street - is still there and is currently a chiropractors:

Trivial fact: The GP who delivered Margaret Roberts was Nicholas Parsons's father.

Simon said...

Pitty, given that this film was made in 1939 that it doesn't have a sound track.

I wonder what the earliest documentary footage of the UK to have both colour and sound is? I find this sort of thing utterly compelling.

Charlieman said...

It's a pity that a few of the commentators at Unmitigated England and elsewhere haven't chipped in.

What strikes me is the number of private cars on the road. Thus obviously prior to September 1939. Also the fact that chrome plating on the cars is not whited out. Whiting out started before petrol rationing.

The big clue about month is the height of water in the river (before Stamford?).

Anonymous said...

The big clue about the month is the caption at the start - Aug 1939

The number of telegraph poles and the general sense of cleanliness is interesting.