Sunday, October 09, 2011

Trams and model boats on film

This is a truly fantastic film. Leytonstone in 1938. You don't see many general street scenes from this era on film and very few taken in colour. Mr Redburn was a member of a cine club in London and had contacts in the trade to give him access to the very earliest UK 8mm Kodachrome colour films which he used in a Keystone Camera. Standard 8 was intruced in 1932 in America and presumably arrived on our shores a few years later.

The obvious excitement is that there are trams in the street scenes along with loads of lovely old cars. The streets look completely different too. The shops have awnings, the signage is much more subtle. Adverts are hand painted rather than printed and there are the sort of building sized permanent displays you don't see any more. There used to be a Bass beer one in south Leamington which has only recently disappeared.

Towards the end of the film, there's a lot of model boating, a hobby that has almost completely changed now. Councils rarely provide suitable lakes, sailors don't don wellies and walk through the wet stuff, yachts rarely get pointed into the wind and left to guide themselves and no-one is that smartly dressed.

It's quite a poignant scene too. The lingering shot of the war memorial reminds the modern viewer that in a couple of years there would be another great conflict to add to the list of those being remembered.

Hat tip to the Wood End and beyond blog for this one.


Anonymous said...

Down here in Orpington, London Borough of Bromley, there's a nice boating lake, frequently used by boating enthusiasts. In the film I noticed the zebra crossing had no black and white stripes, just studs to denote the limits of the crossing. A detail worth noting for modellers of this period. Speaking of period detail, I notice in this month's Model Rail ther is an article on building a scene in which a Beattie Well Tank is seen crossing a road with a policeman stood thereon. Unfortunately, the author has fallen into the trap of using a policeman straight out of the box assuming the uniform was o.k. He is wearing a white shirt. I think he will find that in the 1950/60's when the model is set, police would have been wearing blue shirts, as in 'the boys in blue'. The model is set in Cornwall but London's Metropolitan Police were the first to wear white shirts in about the 1980s as part of a 'Corporate Image' change.


Anonymous said...

In a similar vein--sorry, no model boats--from Portland, Oregon, my adopted home town:


Chris Nevard Model Railways said...

Everyone used to wear proper clothes in these days too.

As the photographer of the BWT in Model Rail, there was no person on the crossing at all moments before the photo was taken - the white shirted officer was quickly grabbed from my layout in emergency to complete the scene. Personally I'd be more worried about the lack of loco crew!