Saturday, October 25, 2008

"A Nation Of Immigrants"

Edwardian London. The diversity just pours off the screen.


Telegraph :

The film was shot in 1904 as a 'travelogue' for Australians curious about life in what was "one of the most exciting cities anywhere", according to Professor Ian Christie. He discovered the 12 minute reel while trawling through archives in Canberra. Prof Christie said: "It's a rather clever mixture of what we would expect to see - such as the Embankment, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square - but it also has these wonderful close ups of individuals. "There's an old lady sleeping rough on a bench, children encouraging a dog to swim in the Thames, children paddling in one of the ponds in St James's Park."

But some things never change.

"There's a wonderful shot of roadworks on the Strand," he said. "The catalogue says, 'Street up as usual'. Road works were obviously a common feature of London in 1904 too." Other scenes show roads packed with horse-drawn traffic, the city "absolutely teeming with people", fish traders at Billingsgate Market and shoe-shiners in the West End. The footage, shot of 35mm film, also shows subtle insights into life such as the way people walked, he added. The academic, professor of film and media history at Birkbeck College in London, said the film, called Living London, was shot by pioneering Anglo-American film-maker Charles Urban.


How well dressed everyone is, and how much care they take over their appearance - in an age with no washing machines. The hats, ties, gloves. Respectability high, crime and bastardy low - although there were plenty of negative points - especially for the poor. Robert Roberts' "The Classic Slum" and (my favourite) "A Ragged Schooling" are brilliant portraits of Salford working class life in this period and also a great read. I read them 30 year back and I see they're back in print. If anyone's read any London equivalents I'd love to know about them.

I love that train going backwards over the bridge.

17 comments:

Hugh Oxford said...

Ah, the days when white people actually had children.

I once saw an advert for the Family Planning Association in my local GP. It depicted a horde of women pushing those old fashioned prams. The strap line was along the lines of what dreadful times those were. I nearly cried.

Anonymous said...

Despite the back-breaking poverty depicted in books like 'The Classic Slum' and 'A Ragged Schooling,' there existed the cohesion of solidarity. As David Goodhart pointed out a few years back, diversity is at odds with social concordance.

Forget what liberal progressives say, homogeneous societies are more stable and, yes this is an unpalatable truth but it must be said anyway, nicer places to live in.

Foxy Brown said...

Comment at 11.11pm is mine.

Anonymous said...

Also of note is the conservative manner in which the girls dress. I knew it was like that but its another thing to see a real video as opposed to a film recreation.

JuliaM said...

"I once saw an advert for the Family Planning Association in my local GP. It depicted a horde of women pushing those old fashioned prams. The strap line was along the lines of what dreadful times those were. I nearly cried."

I feel the same way when I watch that dreadful new advert for 'Country Life' butter...

Sgt Troy said...

"Ah, the days when white people actually had children."

An option now largely closed down by the need to service the debt serfdom created by the banksters which requires 2 incomes to put a modest roof over the heads of indigenous people. Plus of course we have to pay for the enriching hordes whose fecundity has never been in dispute

Laban, the site's great - well done. But where are you going politically? You know you have no charger to ride into battle.

The parties of Mandelson and Osborne are degenerate, traitorous scum, you know that as well as I do.

Give our website a visit, make a contribution. We may be "rough beasts" as some grand commentator put it, but now is the time for plain speaking - and decisive action.

You have got a lot to offer, perhaps you could knock the odd rough edge off, without of course diminishing our patriotism and our passion.

Think of the children, think of the nation.

Think of Tess - think of England, Tess strikes me now as a metaphor for England. Raped by the City spiv - Alec "d'Urberville" then crassly neglected and let literally go hang by the liberal idiot Angel Clare.

Some of us rough beasts even read Hardy, there you go.

Anonymous said...

They didn't have chicken tikka masala or 'carnival'. And I didn't see any Staffordshire bull terriers or 'whale tail' thongtops over trackie bs.

They must have been terribly unfulfilled.

Yaffle said...

Laban,

Watching footage of the 1951 Festival of Britain at an exhibition earlier this year, I was also struck by how smartly and soberly dressed everyone looked, even in an era of rationing and austerity. That and the sight of Britons actually making things.

You can see it here.

CaptainZlog said...

I watched this over and over again.

A fantastic piece of film and such good quality as well.

I'm interested in history anyway, but its one thing looking at Anglosaxon swords in the British museum and thinking no doubt a very distant ancestor (probably quite a few) weilded on of these things, but scenes like these would have been witnessed by my grandmother who was alive when I was young.

I'm in my forties, my mother gave birth to me when she was in her mid thirties and my Grandmother gave birth to my mother when she was in her forties. My Gran was born in the 1880s.

She died when I was about 11. But she lived in London and this was her world as she saw it, which makes this film really quite something for me.

I have seen photos of her in Edwardian dresses looking like she just stepped off the set of upstairs Downstairs. She would have fitted perfectly into this film.

Sorry for going on but I was really fascinated by this. I would have said all this on the Telegraph site but they didn't have anywhere to comment on it.

Anyway, as you point out, it would have a very low reading of vibrons on the vibrantometer. Poor things, it must have been so dull.

stephen said...

Wonderful times. 40% of the adult male population denied the vote. 100% of the adult female population denied the vote. Grinding poverty. Baby farming. The workhouse if you became destitute. The slammer if you were homosexual. You could buy a handgun without a licence but that doesn't really seem to compensate for all the other deficiencies.

Anonymous said...

Sgt Troy - Im always saying you should have a website - now it turns out you have.

Where is it please?

Martin said...

Stephen,

Dont be a pain in the backside.

In those days, you were also unlikely to be blown up by a Muslim suicide bomber.

We can all play your game.

bookworm said...

To be honest, you're not very likely to be blown up by one now either. Late Victorian and early Edwardian times had their own terrorists too: Fenians and anarchists.

Whether the past looks more appealing than the present probably depends in some part on where you imagine yourself in the social hierarchy of the age.

You'd have to choose well in Edwardian times: not much leeway back then if accident of birth had you grasping the grubby end of the stick.

The 1950s and 1960s look more attractive to me.

Anonymous said...

When you talk about big city slums of 100 years ago ofcourse they are not very attractive, but my uncle traced our family tree back 300 years and our family were mostly living in small villages (as most other people lived in that day and age) in the rural midlands, you didn't have to be upperclass to have a perfectly decent standard of living.

If you listened to the leftist view of the past you'd think the only people living in England were either Lords of the Manor or people forced into the workhouse, and hardly any inbetween.

I wouldn't want to live in the past myself though mainly because the poor quality of medical treatments.

Hugh Oxford said...

An option now largely closed down by the need to service the debt serfdom created by the banksters which requires 2 incomes to put a modest roof over the heads of indigenous people. Plus of course we have to pay for the enriching hordes whose fecundity has never been in dispute

I'm warming to the idea of the BNP in much the same way as a man on fire warms to the idea of jumping into a river. I'd rather not, but then I think about the alternatives.

But the British people must take some responsibility for their predicament. We bought the death cult, now we're reaping what we've sown.

Immigrants are doing what human beings do. They're behaving rationallye

Anonymous said...

"Wonderful times. 40% of the adult male population denied the vote. 100% of the adult female population denied the vote. Grinding poverty. Baby farming. The workhouse if you became destitute. The slammer if you were homosexual. You could buy a handgun without a licence but that doesn't really seem to compensate for all the other deficiencies."

You're right Stephen it was clearly better.

When the long term objectives of the EU consist of WIPING OFF THE MAP dozens of European Nations and then replacing and supplanting them multiculture and criminalising opposition to this, the policies of the BNP are totally just.

Weigh it up you fools, the EU is the most destructive organization since the Third Reich, multiculture is the lebensraum; it destroys nations. And we've lost so much.

Here's an ironic quip:

Q. What do you get when you demographically replace the Punjab with Latin Americans?

A. The end of the Punjab.

Do you think that makes the world a better place? Destroying nations?

Sgt Troy said...

H of O

"I'm warming to the idea of the BNP in much the same way as a man on fire warms to the idea of jumping into a river. I'd rather not, but then I think about the alternatives."

Good

"But the British people must take some responsibility for their predicament. We bought the death cult, now we're reaping what we've sown."

Why? Britain isn't a democracy

"Immigrants are doing what human beings do. They're behaving rationallye"

It's about time we did likewise