London, 1927 – See the past come to life in vivid colour video

I recently had the rare privilege of seeing black and white footage of my late father as a child. It

I recently had the rare privilege of seeing black and white footage of my late father as a child. It was moving beyond words – but part of the experience felt a little sad. Something about it just didn’t quite feel “real”. It felt like a movie, rather than a document of the same reality I inhabited.

It was only later that I was able to put that strange feeling into words: when your view is limited to black and white, there will always be a certain part of the past – a certain living, breathing reality – that feels abstract and off-limits.

This is why the following video is so remarkable. It’s one of the very, very rare times colour filming techniques were used in the 1920s. And what an amazing difference it makes: suddenly, the past seems living. Breathing. Real. It’s a glimpse into our parents’ era as it truly was back then.

How do you feel watching this footage? Does it feel strange to see the past so vividly? And what piece of old footage do you treasure the most?

  1. Do we still live in Australia? I keep getting the idea they moved the whole country to Britain..I was born here and so have generations of my family

    • I appreciate what you’re saying Leanna, however old photos etc are a treasure no matter where people are from. I’m very lucky to have photo’s of my family going back to the 1800’s. They are my treasures and I’m very lucky to have them seeing they were rescued from Scotland. Just to piss you off hahahahaha, I’m attaching a photo of my Dad and Nanna at his christening in 1917. Cheers dear 🙂

    • I think that is a beautiful pic Victoria but many many of us were born in Australia and we would like to see some history of our country

    • that is a real treasure Victoria but I have to agree with Leanna, I am Australian born

    • Trish Daley old photos are a treasure Trish, this photo is of my great and my great-great grandparents. Thanks to a distant cousin, our family tree goes back to the 1700’s on my Dad’s side 🙂

    • you can really see where the union fits into this country ith that footage I thank you to Leanna

    • you are welcome it is the first one I found but I am sure there will be more of other cities in Australia.

    • I agree Victoria, I love all of the photo’s I have which my cousin also gave to all of us when she was doing the family tree, this is my Great Great Grandmother.

    • you are fine with me Victoria, I am delighted to see all these beautiful photo’s and I don’t for one minute begrudge you that wonderful history you have. But we as Aussie’s have a history here too

    • Leanna Stephenson That Newcastle video was a great find – thank you! It goes without saying we’re far more keen to share Australian footage, but in this instance we felt it was the year, not the place, that made this connection to the past special. We’ll keep digging for Aussie footage to get the best of both worlds 🙂

    • What a find Libbi, I love seeing footage or photo’s from the past. Thanks for sharing.

    • Absolutely love the footage of Newcastle and George St in Sydney thanks Leanna and Libbi! Why the heck did they take the tram tracks up only to now be taking a year or two of chaos to put them back again!

    • Newcastle is nothing like that now Catherine, that is a real dip into Australia’s history and it was Baird Catherine he promised us the world and gave us nothing. thanks to Leanna for that video

  2. Although that is incredible footage, I would prefer to see footage from Australian history.

  3. Watching this I couldn’t help thinking about the people in it. I wonder what happened to them and if they had happy lives. A very interesting look into the past. I was also impressed with all the double decker buses.

  4. Great film, lots of nostalgia.
    We should never forget our history no matter where we are from, it helped to develop us and our country (ies) into what and where they are today. We have so much to be thankful for.

  5. Thank you, what fascinating footage. My parents were born in 1920 so this gives me a wonderful idea of how they would have seen London.

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