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Whitwick & District U3A

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Saturday, 21 May 2022

Saturday, 21 May 2022

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Whitwick & District U3A - History Group films


This page lists the films used by the History Group during 2020 when physical meetings were not possible due to Covid restrictions. They are in reverse chronological order.


Monday 19th April

Watch The Scene from Melbury House This rarely seen 1972 British Transport Film was actually produced by BTF as a training exercise for their apprentice camera operators, recording the daily events of their neighbours as seen from the high roof of their headquarters in London's Marylebone. There is no narration, just the accompaniment of Ralph Vaughan Williams' London Symphony.

With St George's Day approaching and St George's Chapel, Windsor in the news the following seemed appropriate. Georgia is of course one of several countries and cities to have adopted St George as their saint.

Saint George's Day Animated History

February 16 - The burial of King Henry VIII at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

The history of Georgia (the Country) Explained

Monday 12th April

We have all been to London, travelled on the tube, seen the sights, read about its history - but in the following films there are lots of things most of us won't know:

History of The Tube | How London Underground was built (2018)

The genius of the London Tube Map | Small Thing Big Idea, a TED series talk

London's Fake Houses

The (Secret) City of London: History Edition

The (Secret) City of London: Government Edition

Monday 5th April

Elizabethan Express Spring is now well upon us, always a very uplifting time of the year, and I think we all deserve an outing - and, thanks to British Transport Films, we can enjoy a wonderful rail journey on the Elizabethan Express (1954), from Kings Cross Station, London to Waverley Station, Edinburgh. This summertime express covered the 393 miles journey in six and a half hours and the film recalls the glamour of the great days of steam travel.

Staying on a railway theme are two films featuring our locality. The Leicester and Swannington Railway film is the best I have seen for explaining the need to transport coal, the development of canals then the history of the Leicester and Swannington railway with stations and connecting lines being added and subtracted throughout its life. The railway was so important in early railway history, with Swannington having a steam railway several years before Birmingham, Glasgow, London and other major cities.

Beeching's Ghosts - The Leicester and Swannington Railway

Disused Railway Explore, Newbold Tunnel and the Coleorton Railway (Leicester & Swannington Railway)

At the bottom of the Swannington Incline, the Coleorton horse drawn railway continued to Newbold. There is a cutting behind the school leading to the Newbold tunnel a place that can only be accessed if you go down the steep sides of the cutting and have wellies! Loads more information on Coleorton Railway 1833| Swannington Heritage Trust

Monday 29th March

Some films involving hills.

The Abandoned Hill With Two Members Of Parliament One of the rottenest of rotten boroughs prior to the 1832 Parliamentary Reform Act.

1HEART - History of Notting Hill Carnival

Discovery on the "Broken Hill", History of BHP

Welcome to Sovereign Hill

Monday 22nd March

This week some farm related films. The 1943 film emphasises how unmechanised British agriculture was before WW2 and how rapidly it changed during the war. Many people associate Henry Ford with the Model T car, but his Fordson tractors had a big impact on agriculture, I hadn't realised his farming background. The last film covers a unique present, a 5/8 size tractor for Henry Ford's 8-10 year old grandson, we have many grandparents amongst our membership, have any of you made something special for your grandchildren?

Causes Of The Revolution: The Agricultural Revolution

Tractors Working On The Farm: Power On The Land - 1943 CharlieDeanArchives / Archival Footage

Hedging (1942)

100th Anniversary of the Fordson Tractor

Henry Ford Built This Fordsons Tractor For His Grandchildren! Classic Tractor Fever

Monday 15th March

As Wednesday is St Patrick's day, an Irish theme seems appropriate for this week's films.

The History of Saint Patrick - a Short Story

St. Patrick's Day: Bet You Didn't Know | History

Saint Patrick's Day Animated History

The last 10 High Kings of Ireland

A Timeline Of The Potato Famine That Changed Ireland Forever

Monday 8th March

Work in Progress - In 1951, British Transport Films produced this 25 minute short which takes a look at the ongoing growth and change in all forms of transport in Britain at that time. The film presents examples of transport involving rail, road, bus and ferry services in various locations in the UK, and showing the people working in those spheres. The film commentary concludes with "But the present never stands still" and highlights opportunities for the younger generation in planning the future for the transport industry. I hope you will agree, this is another piece of our social history marvellously captured on film by Edgar Anstey's British Transport Films unit.

A couple of other short films to go with this:

An Animated History of Transportation

The History of Rail Travel in Under 6 Minutes

Monday 1st March

You will all undoubtedly be rising early for the excitement of St David's Day! So I felt I would help you along the way with a few film clips about St David and co. Growing up in Cardiff there were not any school lessons on St David's Day, the morning was the school eisteddfod. At primary school age this tended to be each class performing various Welsh songs. By secondary school the eisteddfod was somewhat broader, small groups singing or playing instruments of Welsh music, but also wider culture. There was a dramatic monologue taking the mick out of teachers and their trips to a legendary oasis of tranquility across the road (the three brewers). Also a pop group giving a very lively rendition of Hey Jude. So included are some historical clips about both the Welsh National Eisteddfod (thank you Victorians for inventing this) and the more recent Welsh International Eisteddfod at Llangollen.

The Story of St David

St. David of Wales - Legends of Wales

St David's Day, Carmarthen. 1957

Why is the leek a symbol of Wales?

Colwyn Bay - Welsh National Eisteddfod (1947)

Welsh International Eisteddfod (1957)

Monday 22nd February

This week some short clips about the names of places and some quirky films re maps.

How Did The Counties Of England Get Their Names?

The Names Of The UK's Islands Explained

Why does Russia have the best maps of Britain?

The History of England : Every Year

Monday 15th February

In view of the closeness of the date, some short films about the history of St Valentine and Valentine's Day. Just as Wales is the only one of the home nations to have its home grown patron saint, it is also the only UK country to have its own home grown romantic saint, St Dwynwen (make a note to surprise the love of your life on the 25th January next year) an interesting tale worthy of the Mabinogion.

Saint Valentine's Day Animated History

A Brief History of Saint Valentine

Who Really Invented Valentines Day?

Welsh Valentine's Day: 'Why we mark St Dwynwen's Day'

The Story of Saint Dwynwen

Monday 8th February

This week some films about medieval life.

Medieval living: How Did Medieval Peasants Light Their Homes?

Soap and washing: Did they have soap in medieval times?

Medieval bells: How to avoid traffic accidents in medieval times

Medieval hoods: A funny thing about medieval hoods and an amazing discovery!

Medieval food: How healthy was it?

What did peasants eat in medieval times?

Monday 1st February

I am sure many of you will recall your trips to Saturday Morning Pictures wherever you lived, just one example of a happy childhood spent in the 50s/60s when we were not yet ruled by television - let alone computer games and mobile phones. Ourlatest film offering below offers us a nostalgic reminder of those happy times.


I have used this film as inspiration for others on a similar theme, starting with an interesting history of how films began.
History of Movies in 3 Minutes | Fun Facts and History for Kids | Educational Videos by Mocomi

Brace yourselves for the challenge with this next one. In a couple of minutes it must show images of 40-50 films. How many can you recognise?
The History of Cinema in 2 minutes

Some of my favourite history is when someone takes a small aspect of a subject and researches it. I really enjoyed learning about these film studio logos.
5 True Stories Behind Hollywood Studio Logos

Monday 25th January

The media's focus on climate change and biodiversity sometimes seems to suggest that people only started planting trees and looking after forests and nature about 30 years ago. So here's a potted history of trees and forests ancient and modern:

A Brief History of Sherwood Forest

Celebrating 100 years of forestry 1919-2019

Here's How the National Park Service Got Started

Egypt: The Amazing Forest in the Desert

Why is Africa building a Great Green Wall? BBC News

Monday 18th January

The speedy development of coronavirus vaccines is a terrific achievement and scientists of all genders and nationalities are rightly getting a huge amount of credit. The role of the mathematicians in this is relatively unnoticed, yet they are the ones who do the statistical analysis that assesses the efficiency and safety of the vaccines. So here are some films that celebrate not just mathematicians, but lady mathematicians, ladies who have helped shape the world.

Hazel Hill - 13-year-old mathematician who helped win WWII (UK) - BBC News - 10th July 2020 Not only is the story of a 13 year old girl whose work helped in the design of the spitfire's guns amazing, it harks back to a different era when people quietly got on with their jobs without posting it on Instagram.
Fuller version of the story

10 Historic Female Mathematicians You Should Know Anyone who has experienced the frustrations of technology, such as getting a printer to work, will agree with this Radia Perlman quote - The world would be a better place if more engineers, like me, hated technology. The stuff I design, if I'm successful, nobody will ever notice. Things will just work, and will be self-managing.

Dorothy Johnson Vaughan Biography I find it so incredibly hard to understand why talent and ability are underused because people are female, black, poor etc. The world has lost so much. But it is inspiring to see instances where people have overcome these various prejudices and been a success.

Monday 11th January

Last week's events in Washington have prompted a selection of revolting films this week, predominantly peaceful revolutions within our lifetimes.

Solidarity and the fall of communism in Poland The name Solidarity is in many ways synonymous with Poland, a country that has itself struggled to survive with three partitions in the 18th century as Austria, Germany and Russia gobbled it up.

The Peaceful Revolution | People & Politics When Kennedy gave his dramatic speech in Berlin, few would have expected the East German regime to crumble the way it did.

Velvet Revolution 1989 Perhaps the ultimate peaceful revolution was in Czechoslovakia

The Revolutions Of 1989 Considering the violence of the communist oppression, the generally peaceful ethos of the revolutions was amazing, Romania being the notable exception.

Monday 4th January

To start the glorious year of 2021, the history of snow.

Watch Snowdrift at Bleath Gill online - Snowploughs are readied to rescue a snowbound train - in one of the most popular of all British Transport Films. The film offering this time features an incident which occurred in February 1955 when a freight train travelling between Kirkby Stephen and Barnard Castle became snowbound in the Westmorland Hills near Stanmore Summit.

Winter of 1947 - A bit before my time, but some of our members may remember this.

January's A Frost (1963) As usual we had decamped to my maternal grandparents in Porthcawl for Christmas. I had to miss a week of school because we were unable to return to Cardiff, such a shame!

Wales Online Snow 1982 January 1982 has the most vivid snowtime memories for me. I was unable to get to work in Talbot Green for a week and a colleague had to drive to my house in his land rover to collect the keys to the cheque signing machine so that Taff Ely Borough Council could pay the weekly wages.
On the Friday evening I went on a three hour stroll delivering letters cancelling a Scout Group Christmas Party, only to return home and see a big dent in my car (a delivery lorry to the corner shop across the road had hit it). The next morning a couple of neighbours rang my doorbell and asked if I had seen the side, not the car, the house! I lived at the end of a Victorian terrace and went around the corner with my neighbours to see the cast iron gutters had collapsed under the weight of the melting snow, demolishing a small narrow conservatory and garden wall. I then went out of the kitchen door into the paved garden and heard the sound of running water - the pipes had burst in the outside toilet. Yes it took months to resolve all the insurance and other issues but all were easily survivable.
I've always loved snow, but like it to be gone within 2-3 days. It really makes the garden magic and working with the Swannington Heritage Trust volunteers last week in the snow covered Gorse Field near Hough Mill was fabulous. You will all have your own snow memories, best enjoyed in front of the fire with a glass to toast the health of all our members.



Monday 28th Dec

In so many ways 2020 has been a lousy year full of gloom and doom, during which we have had previously unimaginable restrictions placed on our liberty and faced the decimation of so much of our lifestyles. News media tends to focus so much on wars, disasters and what is wrong in the world that it is easy to forget the huge weight of helpfulness, kindness and enthusiasm to make Leicestershire, UK and the world a better and happier place. The last films of 2020 are a potted history of some of the good things that have happened during the lifetimes of our members:

RAF Mountain Rescue (1950) This features the dedicated volunteers of a mountain rescue team based where my father helped maintain planes as an aero engine fitter. Although it features mountain rescue it could easily have been the RNLI or the hundreds of neighbours who spontaneously help search for a missing child or pet.

1998 - Good Friday Agreement explained in 90 seconds Wars and civil disturbances are terrible things, but former enemies can come together to end them. Whether it is Ireland, South Sudan, Columbia or anywhere else in the world the agreements are always imperfect, but the end of conflict always makes places better.

2014 How Sempervirens Fund Saves Redwood Forests / Top 5 Conservation Successes Of 2018 Although climate change, endangered species and biodiversity in general face lots of challenges, we should remember that worldwide millions of people work to achieve conservation successes.
How Sempervirens Fund Saves Redwood Forests
Top 5 Conservation Successes Of 2018

40th anniversary of smallpox eradication Vaccines and programmes to eradicate smallpox, polio, ebola and in 2020 coronavirus are fabulous examples of people working together to improve lives. Coronavirus elimination has a long way to go, but the achievement of vaccines in such a short time frame is breathtaking.

Random Acts of Kindness - Faith In Humanity Restored - Good People 2019 A reminder that everyday there are people making a difference. History shows we can all make a difference by phoning a friend, a kind word to the supermarket checkout lady or a positive social media post.

Ethiopia's famine: Remembering 30 years on - BBC News / Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas? (Live Aid 1985) The terrible famines in Biafra, Ethiopia and other places are terrible memories from history, tinged with a pride that the world always tries to respond to famines, floods, volcano eruptions, earthquakes and other disasters. There may be arguments over how successful Band Aid / Live Aid was, but music stars tried and millions responded with donations. What will never be known is how many people were inspired by Band Aid and Live Aid to keep donating to charities, volunteer with charities and community groups and just be nicer, friendlier and more helpful to others.
Ethiopia's famine: Remembering 30 years on - BBC News
Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas? (Live Aid 1985)

Monday 21st Dec

Some seasonal film clips seemed appropriate this week.

Weird History of Christmas Carols - Music History Crash Course

The History of Christmas Carols | Music History Video

Evolution of Christmas Songs (1744-2020)

The History of the 12 Days of Christmas

Monday 14th Dec

Despite the challenges of 2020 we are now in the festive season where people eat, drink and be merry. Christmas lights shine brightly during dark evenings, even if people have to share their drinks with friends via zoom. Liz sent me a link to her daughter's Youtube clip of her rambles through her French vineyards, which includes a little bit of history about wine making - it never occurred to me that grape skins could be distilled into 94% alcohol. This sparked me off into looking at the history of various drinks. So I hope you enjoy the films.

Ramble 57 - Rebouls - 3rd November

How Wine INVADED THE WORLD - A journey through the History of Wine as it travelled round the Globe

A brief history of alcohol - Rod Phillips

The History of Ribena

Monday 7th Dec

Wonderful old London around 1900 in colour! [AI enhanced and colourized] The film choice for December is a fascinating digitally enhanced and colourized piece showing London, in particular London transport, over the period 1895 - 1915. At the start we see roads full of horse drawn traffic - with masses of pedestrians. Then, within a few years, motorised transport took over. The streets now seem much clearer with less traffic, - and not so many pedestrians wandering around! It all seems so much more sedate now.

Edinburgh - birth of a city

History of Manchester - 1. Mamucium

Bristol Through the Ages

Monday 30th Nov

A bit different this week, a little bit of history of music. How many of these items do you remember? Do you agree with the filmmakers' interpretation?

The Music Of Britain - A Brief History of British Music

What Really Happened the Day the Music Died

Top 10 Most Important Moments in Music History

Monday 23rd Nov

When browsing I came across this food bombers film about allied food drops to the starving people in a cut off corner of the Netherlands. This subject was new to me so I am sharing it along with a couple of amazing feats of engineering. These remind us that the brains of hidden people behind the scenes can make a huge difference, not just during wars but in many of the challenges of daily life.

Food Bombers - Allied Operations Behind German Lines, Netherlands 1945

Pipe Line Under The Ocean ('PLUTO')

Factory-Made Invasion Harbour (1944)

Monday 16th Nov

Some changes in our lives seem incredible, not just technological changes but also the value of money. Some of our group will have grown up in families where the father was earning just over £4 a week as in this 1946 film. What would £4 get us these days? The Railwaymen - 1946 - full version

Railways were a major technological advance that had a huge impact on the way people lived. We tend not to consider their impact on social interaction, which is why this film on abolishing 2nd class travel is so interesting. There is the underlying question, why didn't they abolish 3rd class? Abolishing 2nd Class on the Midland Railway, 1875

Monday 9th Nov

A topical film is Top 10 presidents of the USA It was made in 2014, so Obama and Trump have not been included. It's interesting to muse where they would fit in the presidential rankings. Irrespective of our political views, I'm sure we can enjoy the history.

Monday 2nd Nov

The offering this time is a delightful British Transport Film of 1952. The narrator is the author A.G. Street, whose film adaptation of The Strawberry Roan (1944) was recently shown on Talking Pictures TV. Mr Street was also a regular columnist for Farmers Weekly.

Farmer Moving South - The true story of a farmer who transported his entire livestock from Yorkshire to Sussex via train - on the coldest night of the year.

Monday 26th Oct

Toilets have been a well publicised feature of the coronavirus pandemic, with shortages of toilet paper in some countries and many public toilets closing in the UK. So you might enjoy learning a little about their history, including how problems with a toilet sunk a submarine.

How The Toilet Changed History - 1 in 3 people on Earth still lack access to basic sanitary toilets.

The Remarkable History of Toilet Paper - Toilet paper a modern invention

U-1206's Toilet Disaster - How the design of a toilet led to the loss of a submarine!

Monday 19th Oct

These days I cannot imagine the 1954 film Zulu being made in the same way as it was then, even so the fictitious singing of Men of Harlech is etched in my mind. I was therefore delighted to chance upon the story of Henry Hook who won a Victoria Cross and went on to a career of dusting books and looking after walking sticks. Further clips including the transcript of Frank Bourne's interview tell a fascinating tale irrespective of personal views about war.

Rorke's Drift to the British Museum: The story of Henry Hook

Battle Stack: The Battle of Rorke's Drift tactics

Interview with Frank Bourne - Hero of Rorkes Drift

Monday 12th Oct

Thanks to Pete Johnson for sharing this Sunderland heritage film, to which I have added a short historical animation of Sunderland.

Seventeen Nineteen - Holy Trinity, Sunderland - a virtual tour of a Georgian church.

The Wearsiders a Family History of Sunderland

Digital history for week commencing Monday 5th Oct.

Every Valley This 1957 British Transport Film presents an interesting impression of a day's life in the valleys of south Wales and it looks as though it may have been shot in autumn. The commentary is spoken by the popular Welsh actor - and star of many a British B film - Donald Houston.
For some reason the link starts 10 minutes into the film, so just pull the red dot and line at the bottom to the left to start it from the beginning.

To complement it, there are some short films about the South Wales valleys. I've never been to Ferndale (Welsh Glynrhedynog the fern valley) and only once to play rugby in Gilfach Goch (translates as the small, red secluded area) which is shaped like an elongated frying pan - one road in, a loop around the outside and back out the way you came in.

Ferndale - History of a Rhondda town - Home of 'Stella'

Ruth James - Gilfach Goch

Yvonne Smith - Memories of Gilfach Goch - Narrated by Peter Watts

Monday 28th Sept

This week's films provide an opportunity to brush up on some local history.

William Lilly's Cottage - Diseworth - Leicestershire. A couple of minutes covering the restoration of the thatched cottage

How to get ahead in life when your father is in debtors prison - walk to London, serve your master and marry a rich widow 25 years older than yourself and become a master astrologer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Lilly

The Changing Face of Hathern Village Loughborough. 100 years of village changes.

Hathern Village Scenes c1955. Includes a fascinating interview with one of the oldest residents.

Monday 21st Sept

The history of Mwmbwls, Gower is featured this week.

MUMBLES RAILWAY SWANSEA - BBC Wales The world's first passenger railway, nearly two decades before George Stephenson and Stockton Darlington!

Capsized: The tragic story of The Mumbles lifeboat disaster

Monday 14th Sept

Any Man's Kingdom An attempt to capture the variety of life in Northumberland, and in particular something of the county's heart-warming atmosphere. This charming 1956 British Transport Film features music by Elizabeth Lutyens and the narrator is well known film, stage & TV actor Stephen Murray who is perhaps best remembered as Number 1 in the long running radio comedy series The Navy Lark.

Monday 7th Sept

Watch Holiday online Last week we journeyed to The Lancashire Coast and we now move on to 1957 for a traditional seaside Holiday in Blackpool itself. This lively British Transport Film is great fun featuring brilliant camera work, a terrific soundtrack by Chris Barber and his Band, and narration by Robert Shaw. The film naturally finishes with a glimpse of the town's famous illuminations.

There are more things to do on holiday than just lie on a beach. Yorkshire's Hidden History provides a few tips on how to recognise church architecture.

A Brief Intro to Historical Churches I: Anglo-Saxon

A Brief Intro to Historical Churches II: Norman

A Brief Intro to Medieval Gothic Churches

Monday 31st Aug

The Lancashire Coast It is now the August Bank Holiday weekend so this must be the time to take a little holiday. So, let's go back to 1957 with British Transport Films for a tour of The Lancashire Coast. Our narrator is once again the actor/radio broadcaster Hubert Gregg. BTF often produced these wonderful (now nostalgic) travelogues with professional actors actually appearing as, seemingly, 'members of the public'. This bright little documentary concludes with a courting couple set against a backdrop of the Blackpool illuminations, - but a previous reviewer points out the young man is actually actor Bill Treacher, best known for his role as Arthur Fowler in Eastenders.

To go with the film, take a gander at:

Hidden Lancaster, England and Madness, Migration and the Irish in Lancashire, 1850-1921

Monday 24th Aug

Miss Grant goes to the door (1940) - Miss Grant Goes to the Door features the highly respected actresses of stage and screen Mary Clare & Martita Hunt, and was produced to help keep the British public on their guard at a time when there was a real fear of invasion after the Dunkirk evacuation. In this dramatic short, two elderly spinsters deal with German paratroopers dropped into their garden!

Went the Day Well? (1942) - trailer. Went the Day Well? will soon be getting a couple of showings on Talking Pictures TV (Freeview 81, Sky 328,Virgin 445), - on Saturday 5th September @ 6pm & on Wednesday 9th September @ 2.30pm.

You might be interested in my new 'favourite historian', a young lady with a quirky sense of humour, who is passionate about Yorkshire history.

Yorkshire's Hidden History, A Brief History of Saltaire, Flora Sandes - The Yorkshire Woman Who Fought For Serbia in WWI, The 1820 Yorkshire Rebellion, The Pilgrimage of Grace, 1536, Witches in Yorkshire, Catherine Warr - Yorkshire's Hidden History

Monday 17th Aug

Look at Life Vol 01 Transport Vintage Models 1963 This week, the Rank Organisation short Vintage Models (1963) takes a look at the restoration of vintage cars and includes a visit to Montagu Motor Museum in the New Forest. Hope you will agree, it's wonderful to hear Raymond Baxter again!

Genevieve And now a little tie-in...why not take a look at this clip from the much loved, classic comedy film Genevieve (1953) starring John Gregson, Kenneth More, Kay Kendall and Dinah Sheridan (with Larry Adler playing the harmonica!). The TV channel, Talking Pictures TV (Channel 81 on Freeview) frequently shows this delightful colour film.

This week I have added several short clips featuring transport during the last couple of centuries:

Stage Coaches (1961)

Oldest Footage of London Ever A time when horse and motor powered transport coexisted side by side

York Museums Trust - Hansom Cab Although born in York, Hansom moved to Leicestershire where he invented the Hansom cab. He was an architect and amongst his buildings are Birmingham Town Hall and Leicester Museum and Art Gallery in the New Walk.

A change from the above is pedal power. These clips brought back memories for me as in the 1970's the Scout Group I was in took part in the local races at Barry Island, regional events in Kidderminster and Weston-super-Mare and the nationals at Scarborough and Brighton.

Soapbox Derby (1961) Held in Scarborough

SCOUT CAR RACES More than a hundred peddle-powered monsters in the annual scout-car races at Brighton in 1971.

Monday 10th Aug

'Staycations' are very much in the news this year as many of us are opting for holidays in the UK and it seems caravan & campervan holidays are proving particularly popular.

Caravan Concourse - In 1966, an entry in the Pathé Pictorial series offered an insight into caravan holidays...

Home On Wheels - In 1957, Pathé also produced this little look at Dora Bryan's campervan, - which was apparently something of a surprise item at the time. You will note, campervans (in contrast to the more upmarket motorhomes) have not changed a great deal over the years.

From these films looking at the history of British holidays seemed a natural extension, so the following is 10 minutes on how Blackpool developed into a holiday destination.

History of The British Holiday | How The Victorians Built Britain | Channel 5

A name such as Eugenius Birch is always worth investigating so here is a little more.

IAAPA Hall of Fame: Eugenius Birch and the Seaside Amusement Pier

Monday 3rd Aug

Ideal Home Exhibition . In 1963, Pathé News produced this attractive short support film in Technicolor for their ABC cinema circuit, showing highlights of that year's Exhibition.

Westinghouse All Electric House

What Past Predictions of the Future Got Right

Man Predicting The Future in 1945

Monday 27th July

Vive Torbay: Travelling to the British Seaside (1968). It's still holiday time, - and what could be nicer than a week in the borough of Torbay (Torquay, Brixham & Paignton), - the English Riviera. This week's featured film is a nostalgic Pathé Pictorial short produced in 1968 as a supporting film for the ABC cinema circuit.

Britain's Real Monarch (British History Documentary). This film is based on the premise that Edward IV was illegitimate and that the Hastings family of Ashby castle are the true heirs to the throne. For those who enjoy the what ifs of history, family trees and local interest this is a must.

Monday 20th July

NORTH TO WALES - A nostalgic holiday excursion, - as we leave Euston Station in 1956 bound for North Wales. Another delightful British Transport Film short, this time narrated by popular Welsh character actor Meredith Edwards as he fondly remembers his homeland.

1947 family outing to Roath Park Cardiff. A few years before my time but very recognisable - boating lake, swimming huts, the big slide.

Barry Island prepares for Easter 1962 The nearest sandy beach was Barry Island - we spent many summer days there with sandcastles, fish and chips, ice cream and a few rides in the funfair before the train home.

Old Abandoned Rusty Trains In UK. Abandoned Train. Cars On The Barry Scrapyard. Ghost Train. The train to Barry Island passed the train scrapyard - it's a good job that they started work on breaking up the thousands of coaches, as before they got to the locomotives many heritage railways were established and headed to Barry. Virtually every heritage railway in the country now has a train or coach that has been recovered from Barry. If you are a steam train enthusiast you will recognise many different types of locomotive.

1968ish Porthcawl My grandparents lived in Porthcawl so trips to Coney Beach funfair were a regular feature, if you stayed on the waterchute for a second ride it was cheaper. Paddling in the sea and digging sandcastles.

Tenby to Manorbier on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in West Wales - July 2016. This clip reminds me of holidays in a caravan at Tenby and Saundersfoot, with train trips to Lydstep Haven and Manobier. Also of my later wild camping walks along the Pembrokeshire coast path. Exploring Manobier castle is a vivid memory. In 1146 Gerald of Wales, the great 12th-century scholar known as Geraldus Cambrensis was born at the castle. He was the fourth and youngest son of William de Barri, who was related on his mother's side, to the legendary Welsh princess Nest ferch Rhys.

Tuesday 14th July

Smokeless Coalville - BBC news report from 1963. At the time, former athlete Chris Brasher was a reporter for the BBC's Tonight programme and our film this week features Coalville UDC's resolve to become smokeless. Various local people are interviewed and the footage includes some interesting location shooting.

Charles and Mary - a film about social reformers Charles and Mary Booth. It's a shame that this is the last film involving children from Grace Dieu Manor School as it is closing.

Monday 6th July

Look at Life Vol 01 Transport All through the Night. In 1959-60, the Rank Organisation produced a series of short documentary films under the title Look at Life for their Odeon and Gaumont cinema chains to replace the circuit's newsreels. The film this week is a particularly good example of these 'slice of life' supporting films, a very colourful, interesting and entertaining insight into life on the road for the night drivers of British Road Services.

Continuing the 60's theme

Review Of The Sixties (1970)

Swinging Britain in the 60s: A Psychedelic Dream (1967)


Monday 29th June

Down To Sussex Thanks to this wonderful British Transport Film, we can be transported back to 1964 to take a very rich and varied tour of Sussex. So, let's take the train to a county rich in scenic beauty and history and enjoy the delights of the seaside, peaceful downland villages and fertile weald.

To go with the film, some short clips about Sussex.

Screen decades of West Sussex history

Brighton in the 70's | East Sussex | 1979

Abandoned Village - Exploration & History of Tide Mill

Weald & Downland Living Museum, West Sussex

Monday 22nd June

Highland Journey (1957) Another delightful film from British Transport Films and another little time capsule of seemingly tranquil days and lifestyles in the Highlands of Scotland.

Keeping on a Scottish theme are a couple of films about Glasgow.

Billy Connolly's History & Culture Of Glasgow | Made In Glasgow Billy does not tell us a lot in this short film, but it is interesting to see what elements of the city's history and culture he has selected in his personal viewpoint.

Glasgow 1980 (made in 1971) This film shows us how much Glasgow was changing in the 1960s and 1970s. However, for me the most fascinating part is how our attitudes have changed. Some people feel that the exciting new buildings of that period are actually soulless concrete monstrosities, some of which have already been demolished.

Monday 15th June

The Travel Game (1958) "All aboard The Hook Continental!" at Liverpool Street Station in 1958, bound for the ferry at Harwich, and then on to the Hook of Holland. Our host traveller/narrator is actually well known actor Hubert Gregg who surmises where his fellow passengers may be bound for.

The Netherlands

As the film concerned a journey to the Hook of Holland a few snippets of Dutch history seem appropriate.

The Netherlands, Holland and The Low Countries - The Difference

Ten Minute History - The Dutch Revolt

Why The Dutch Turned A Sea Into A Lake

How The Dutch Dug Up Their Country From The Sea

Monday 8th June

Watch Train Time (28 minutes) Examining a day in the life of what was then the busiest railway system in the world - British Railways.

The Open Road Startling colour photography of 1920s Britain imbues Claude Friese-Greene's 1920s road trip around Britain. A silent film, 65 minutes, with captions. For those unable to go on holiday this year, how about a 1920s motor tour from Lands End to John O' Groats.

Monday 1st June

Watch The Daily Round: The Story of Milk Production and Distribution Indulge your nostalgia for the old-fashioned milk bottle with this promotional film made for Express Dairy Company (later known as Express Dairies), described in the film as "the most modern dairy in the world". This 22 minutes short takes us back to the time of our own childhood when our milk was delivered daily - in one pint glass bottles.

Three Unusual Historic Places

Grand, Historic, and Never Used: The Forgotten Tunnel of Park Estate - 5 minutes. A piece of Nottingham history you have never heard of and can explore for yourself.

The Vasari Corridor: The World's Least Secret Secret Passageway - 5 minutes The ultimate extravagance of the super rich - a 1km passageway between two Florence palaces.

La Petite Ceinture: What Happened to Paris's Lost Railway? - 8 minutes

Monday 25th May

This is York (1953; 20 minutes) Historical York, industrial York and the surrounding countryside are the backdrop, but the main setting is York Station on an autumn day from dawn to dusk. All railway life is shown here. The film precedes the Beeching cuts by 10 years .

Von Trapp Family

It is fascinating to see what parts of the story the film makers kept and which bits they changed. Watch the short or long versions (or both)

Documentary on the Von Trapps - 10 minutes

A Familia Von Trapp - Harmonia e Discordia - 46 minutes

And a bit about the cast, as their reminiscences are living history: The Sound of Music 50th anniversary cast interviews and gala

Monday 18th May

British Transport Films, Our Canteens - Its 12 minutes cover the complexity of the canteen service, conditions of work and the aims of training. It features advice on how the employees should cope with difficulties which arise on the job and emphasises the importance of efficient, friendly canteens to the transport staff. This may all seem rather quaint now but overall we see a charming, lively and entertaining little film which provides a delightful slice of 1950's social history.

Beyond a general awareness of the Picts I know very little, so these short films peaked my interest:

Largest Ever Pictish Hillfort Discovered in Scotland

Picts: History and Heritage

If VE day has sparked your interest in the WW2 period and you have plenty of time, you might wish checkout some of the films on BBC's iPlayer

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The King's Speech

While some liberties are taken with the history they all capture the mood and spirit of the times.

Monday 11th May

The Coal Industry Two very contrasting films .

Miners Strike in South Derbyshire With flying pickets at the colliery entrance the moderate miners of South Derbyshire face the painful decision of whether to cross the picket line.

Mining Review 2nd Year No. 11 American actor and singer Paul Robeson visits an Edinburgh colliery, where he regales miners with a rendition of 'I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night'.

More info can be found with Working Lives In The Mining Industry from Future Learn, which is a group of universities and other organisations running a range of short online courses.

Monday 4th May

Charge of the Light Brigade - Trailer for the classic Warner Brothers film The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)

Crimean War. The Battle of Sinop, after which Sinope mine was named and the collection of cottages surrounding the mine assumed the same name.

The Crimean War - Episode 1 The Reason Why

Florence Nightingale Biography

Swannington Coal Mines Swannington's Califat and Sinope coal mines were both named after events leading to the start of the Crimean War.

Monday 27th April

They Take the High Road (1960; 25 mins). Set in Scotland, this film tells the story of four British Road Services drivers who lived and worked together for two years, loading and transporting 20,000 tons of cement in seven-and-a half-ton loads up craggy mountain roads from the little railway station at Killin to the new Giorra Dam.

History of the Vatican

Vatican City explained and Little Europe: The Vatican City

Charnwood Forest Railway

Charnwood forest Railway Shepshed to Whitwick Monday 27th was meant to be a visit to Whitwick Historical Group at The Station. So it seems appropriate to include this film about a walk along the railway track bed - by an intrepid walker with a keen interest in railway bridges.

Monday 20th April

Water Marks . A geographical journey around the town, harbour and coastline of Wells-Next-the-Sea.

AWAY FOR THE DAY is a film produced by British Transport Films about days out by coach in the early 1950s.

Leicester & Swannington Railway A walk up the line from West Bridge, Leicester covering what was left of the L&SR up to Desford Junction in 1964 just before the track was lifted.

Leicester & Swannington Railway 150 years celebration A film of the only steam locomotive to run on the Coleorton Railway.

Monday 13th April

Cyclists Special (1955) is a delightful record of the first train excursion organised for the CTC on Sunday 8 May 1955.
When the United States invaded England, The Whitehaven Raid
French Invasion of Fishguard - I grew up on the tale of the French surrendering to a group of Welsh women,.
Henry Tudor's guide to Pembrokeshire

Monday 6th April

Starter 1932 Film of Coalville 10 minutes (Silent film so don't adjust the volume!)
Main Event - Royal Family
Buckingham Palace 9 minutes
Balmoral Castle 12 minutes and 6 minutes

Monday 30th March, please join me from the luxurious comfort of your homes to watch three short Coalville related videos on YouTube:

Page content updated 20-6-21