A wonderful video of 1924 London

Discussion in 'Talk' started by Giles, 28 September 2020.

  1. Giles

    Giles Western Thunderer

  2. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Fantastic Giles! I have seen the original, but the modern colouring really brings my grandparents world back to life.

    They did miss a trick though:

    Everything in the environment back then really was an almost uniform, dark greyish brown, while the pristine, richly painted LCC trams and gaudy, scarlet LGOC buses must have appeared to be dazzling beacons, shining out of the gloom and grime?!

    B1- 39.2 - ''balloon and searchlight arrangements west ham lane ''.JPG

    Except at night of course!

    jonte, Jordan, 3 LINK and 14 others like this.
  3. Giles

    Giles Western Thunderer

    Another extraordinary painting!!
    (When I win the lottery....)
  4. John K

    John K Western Thunderer

    Very nice
    I liked the Gardiners Corner shots.
    Interesting that the water levels in the canals were being maintained at a rather higher level than today. The canal water is shown right up to the tow path level and in a few shots was over the towpath.
    Thanks for posting it
    John K
  5. Allen M

    Allen M Western Thunderer

    Thanks Giles.
    I never knew the London canal system.
    However I do remember 'helping' the horse drawn boats through the Mill Street lock in Kidderminster. This is part of the Worcestershire & Staffordshire Canal.
    One unusual feature was the crossover footbridge as the tow path swapped sides. It is cantilevered from each side with a slot through the middle so the tow rope could pass through. I think the horses stopped very late 1940s then the very few boats had engines and probably stopped in the mid 50s and the coal/good basin filled in for the new ring road. Now there are regular pleasure boats.
    It is a very deep lock at about 11'6'' being one of the deepest on any network. The side paddles are OK but I have seen quite a lot of wet decks because the of the top gate paddle being opened too much, too soon.
    Allen Morgan
  6. Overseer

    Overseer Western Thunderer

    Thanks Giles, it brought back lots of memories. I knew the Regents Canal well in the later 1990s as I lived on a narrow boat in Limehouse basin for 5 years and would head up to Camden or a quick loop up to the Hertford Union Canal and back down the Lea and Limehouse Cut. One of the more memorable trips was when narrowboats Unspoilt By Progress I and II arrived in Limehouse Basin on the way back from the Black Sea in 1995. They had a night at Limehouse and needed to get to Little Venice for an official function by early afternoon but the crew had disappeared, not that surprising after crossing the channel. I had forgotten his name but a quick google tells me it was Nick Sanders, anyway he needed help so I offered to crew and work the locks. It was good fun. We worked doubled up most of the way but through the tunnel there was concern about clearances so I had to steer the butty, hopeless steering, it was definitely not a proper working boat - too light and not really set up to work as a butty. We got to Little Venice just in time and I got on my bike and rode back to Limehouse.

    The water levels were higher in the olden days to cope with the 4' draft of lots of the working boats. Apparently the main reason the Regents Canal wasn't filled in was that one of the main cross London high voltage power lines is laid under the tow path and it is water cooled. Snow never settles on the Regents Canal tow path.

    Not sure I like the colourising though.
    John K, Giles, Osgood and 2 others like this.
  7. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    I hope this is in the spirit of this thread Giles? Here is another one, this time for Overseer!

    B1- 40.1 - ''coverdale - walked there and back ...snow''..JPG

    I know the 1940 dateline, and therefore some of the details would be different, but the main landmarks are still there!

    jonte, 3 LINK, GrahameH and 11 others like this.
  8. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    A fabulous trip down memory lane though my memories are Midlands based. The old Museum of Science and Industry on Newhall Street in Birmingham backed onto the Farmers Flight of locks which were hardly used back in the early 1950s. Another memory was walking the towpath from Wolverhampton Low Level to Stafford Road shed. I am not sure the canal was navigable at the time though it certainly is now. The Stratford Canal was renovated in the early 1960s with the help of prisoners - what an idea!

    Today the best old canal experience is at Dudley, which is where the Peaky Blinders scenes have been filmed. When they visit 1920s Camden I imagine they use CGI.

    Over the years we have walked many of the tow paths south of Birmingham including the infamous Hatton Flight on the Grand Union, the only one in the region that can handle wide boats.

    Thanks for posting the movie!
    Giles likes this.
  9. michael mott

    michael mott Western Thunderer

    Thanks for posting the video Giles Brought back some early childhood memories of the Grand union canal in West London.
    Lovely paintings Pete.

  10. Giles

    Giles Western Thunderer

    Peter - the more the better - can't get enough, and Di, my wife is just stunned by your work.... (in the best possible way, that is....!)
  11. Jordan

    Jordan Mid-Western Thunderer

    What's the "back story" to this picture, then? Clearly some kind of Searchlights excercise, with a barrage ballon, but it can't be wartime as there's clearly no blackout!!
    "Summer of 1939", or thereabouts?
  12. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Well done Jordan. I wondered how long it would be before anyone spotted that!

    That picture, plus the second image of Commercial Road, Limehouse, was produced for an intended publication of my grandfather's wartime diaries.

    The barrage balloon and searchlights were organised by West Ham Borough Council as part of an ARP recruitment drive on the 27th of February, 1939.

    Here is a slightly amusing copy of a cutting from the Stratford Express:

    B1- 39.2 - stratford express cutting, friday 3rd march 1939.jpg

    Not only does it reveal a lovely bit of journalistic nonsense in the second paragraph, but a couple of other curious features also.

    The hyphenated street names were a common device back then, but reference to the "Cinema car park" is indeed slightly puzzling.

    No such facility was ever provided, while even back in 1939, the very idea had yet to be invented! In the highly unlikely event of any motorist attending a film show at the "Broadway", they would have had no alternative to simply leaving their vehicles at a nearby kerb! There was a tram terminal point opposite however, with a triangle of open ground between West Ham Lane, Tramway Avenue and the rear of properties on Stratford Broadway. The Council had provided the plot with seating, small lawns and several flower beds with typical, low height, iron railings. Nowhere for anything with more than two wheels except perambulators!

    Maybe it should be recalled that Londoners tended to refer to trams as "Cars", while any green or herbaceous recreational facility was a "Park"? I can find no other plausible explanation.

    There is a bit more to describe about how the picture was done, but that is for later, if anyone is interested?

    Jordan, Dan Randall, Dog Star and 2 others like this.
  13. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    I too thought they would not have had the lights on during a raid, but I didn't like to ask !

  14. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    There is a strange twist to the issue of lighting.

    Not far from the Broadway, and right in the thick of the blitz, the LNER were rebuilding Maryland station. Due to material and manpower shortages, as well as the fact that work could only be carried out after normal daily services had ceased caused the project significant delay, and the company obtained special dispensation from the stringent blackout laws to operate under full illumination.

    Admittedly, the only condition applied was that all the lights were controlled by a master switch, and would obviously be extinguished in the event of an incoming raid being reported.

    However, we can imagine the scenario of a resident, living in Manbey Park Road finding themselves up in front of the beak! Especially having been reported by what some might have regarded as a jumped up amateur, over enthusiastic. volunteer ARP Warden, and all that for showing a merest chink of light to the enemy?!

    Contradictory Covid rules?

    Nothing new there then?!

    Dog Star and eastsidepilot like this.
  15. Focalplane

    Focalplane Western Thunderer

    An observation taken from the 1924 film, if I may? How many private cars were seen during the course of the movie? Very few. Most vehicles were trams, omnibuses and lorries. As an old car enthusiast I have to say that the lack of private cars did surprise me. But in 1924 the private car was still a rarity on British roads. Move forward in time by 10 years to 1934 and there would have been many more though still not that many in the poorer areas of North London.

    One of the problems we have with preserving the past is that it is convenient to buy and restore a car that will fit in a modern garage but a lorry or even a small charabanc is beyond the storage space most of us could ever possess. Couple that with the desire to take standard cars and turn them into "evocation" specials and even ordinary vintage or post vintage cars are becoming rarer than they could be.

    The attitude of some governments to the preservation of the past can be deplorable. Happily the DVLA is more enlightened than most and insurance for old cars is generally reasonably priced. I was closely involved in a struggle to convince the Singapore and Malaysian Governments that old cars were worthy of preserving and be given concessions. Modern thinking is again attempting to rid the regional highways of anything old but I would like to think that common sense will prevail. After all, Singapore destroyed its Chinatown tourist attractions and then rebuilt them when no-one could find Bugis Street and complained!

    Old films can go a long way to convincing us all that history is an important tool for providing a better future. Denying the past existed is simply stupid!
    Jordan, Giles and Peter Insole like this.