Fascinating film of London shot nearly a hundred years ago by Claude Friese-Greene using a specially-devised colour film process.
My grandmother would have been 6 years old when this was shot. The skyline is radically different, very low, no tower blocks and high rise. In fact St. Pauls would have been one of the tallest buildings in London. Docklands is still busy and thriving, very few few cars. When I was a student at UEA, I had a flat in West Ham, I could see the docklands cranes from my bedroom window, though even then docklands was ghostly. I wish now that I had taken the time to explore it more thoroughly as sadly, nothing of those times remain. In this film, parts of London have an almost serene quality.
There are quite a few edited versions of this doing the rounds, one with music. I elected to post the version restored by the British Film Institute, even though it does not have music, as it is the most complete.
I really enjoyed viewing this, despite that it has changed so much, despite the bombing that followed in the second world war, much of this ‘old’ London still remains.
Courtesy of the BFI National Archive. To find out more about the Archive visit BFI National Archive