British Pathe Helps Waste Our Time By Putting 85,000 Archived Newsreels Online

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber
One of the great things about the Internet is easy access to materials that earlier would have been stored away, inaccessible in some dusty archive or in the back stacks of a library. It’s always a joy when I find that another collection of original documents, historic photos, or films whose content has been digitized and placed online. I’ve even tried to do my part by putting the Andrew F. Johnson Project online. Sure, as someone who dabbles in automotive history, it’s useful to find appropriate illustrations for my work, but the attraction that online archives hold for me is more fundamental than just pragmatic. It’s the digital equivalent to finding a stash of old National Geographic or Life magazines in your grandma’s attic. I’ve spent hours immersed at collections like the Keystone Mast Collection of vintage stereo photos at the Online Archive of California, the Smithsonian’s online archive, and the online image archive at Wayne State University’s Walter Reuther Library. Now, British Pathé, the U.K. newsreel archive company, has uploaded its entire collection of more than 85,000 historic films in high resolution format to YouTube. The archive’s films date back to 1896, with the most recent being produced in 1976, and they comprise about 3,500 hours of footage of major historical events, notable personages, fashion, travel, sports and culture as well as extensive footage from both World Wars. In addition to the finished, narrated newsreels, the archive also includes quite a bit of original footage, outtakes and rushes. Included in the archive are many films of interest to automobile enthusiasts. The archive is searchable so all you have to do is search for topics like “ motor show“, “ automobile“, “ Jaguar“, “ Lotus” or “ Stirling Moss” and you’ll immediately have enough material to put off more productive work for just about as long as you wish. I’ve included a few examples after the break.Warning: This video of the 1955 LeMans disaster includes scenes of death:Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS
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  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 22, 2014

    I hope they've got video of the London double-decker bus races. I've seen photos, but watching the buses jockey for position around the track would be awesome. Also, another online auto site found Pathe footage of a young Princess Elizabeth working on a Red Cross truck, to the amusement of her father, King George. I hope there's more like that. They supposedly created the "Golden Spanner Award" for her, but I doubt they ever sent it to QEII.

  • AoLetsGo AoLetsGo on Apr 22, 2014

    Wow 79 people killed at a race. Those were not the good old days!

    • Battles Battles on Apr 23, 2014

      I can't work out what's wrong with some of the LeMans crash footage. It's reveresed, the adverts are reversed, but the direction of travel of the cars is the right way.

  • Tassos Why do you ask, "will this work for CHEVY"?? Who cares if it does not work for them? The question is, "will this work for GM as a whole, and for the Corvette brand in particular, and the answer is a resounding YES.
  • VoGhost I don't really care about sub-branding. I care about great product. GM should focus less on the branding and more on the great product part of the equation. Barra was appointed CEO on the premise of 'no more boring cars'. It hasn't worked out that way.
  • 28-Cars-Later Tim - I seriously did not log in just to complain but this site is completely jacked up now from a website design perspective. I always whitelisted for ten years but I had to turn on No Script because its just so horrible now, and with it on the layout looks even worse. I'm truly stunned by the callous design choices coming from on high, just wow.
  • 28-Cars-Later Corey I need talked down here:https://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/cto/d/pittsburgh-1999-cadillac-eldorado-etc/7561280135.htmlI talked to the seller, he said his father had it sent to a specialty shop to had the head bolts done which is the main design flaw in these. I need another car like I need another hole in the head... still...
  • Lou_BC The birfield joints on these older units tend to need a rebuild and are very expensive to replace.
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