London in Colour – 1927

31st January 2014

Many of us know of William Friese-Greene, a pioneer of early cinematography, perhaps primarily as a result of the film “The Magic Box” (1951) which features on the ReelStreets Website. However, following his fathers death in 1921 his son Claude carried on the development of the additive colour film process called Biocolour and toured the UK capturing the dramatically changing scene that followed the First World War. His journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats between 1924 and 1926 and entitled The Open Road was featured in a series of programmes by the BBC back in 2006 and is now available on DVD.

It has recently come to my notice that some footage shot by Claude in London during 1927 and subsequently remastered by the BFI is available to be seen at:

Click here for the Link

With the flickering removed it is hard to imagine just how old this footage is, better than most of our home movies of the 1950/1960’s!

With nearly six minutes of footage it covers many locations that appear variously throughout films  listed on ReelStreets and in a few instances almost provides a retrospective “THEN” shot. Because of the popular locations included, many films can be associated with the places featured and I have related a few but I am sure those with a greater experience than I can add a better comparison, which I am happy to do if they would give me the detail. Maybe they could pen a follow-up Blog!