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Pathé newsreel archive gives glimpses of old Leeds
John Charles
Leeds football hero John Charles in 1954

Take the chance to look back on life in Leeds as recorded in the newsreels of British Pathé.

Between 1896 and 1976 Pathé filmed many aspects of life and an archive of 90,000 film clips is available online.

Pathé had camera operators across the world and of course events in Leeds were committed to film.

We've been looking at some of the resulting films and have found Royal visits, sport and Leeds Children's Day all available to view for free.

A link to a few of the Leeds clips collected together:

In the 16 films listed there is a glimpse of the now defunct Children's Day from Roundhay Park. You can watch the crowning of Ellen Ellis as that year's Queen.

Children's Day was a massive occasion organised by local teachers. Pupils from many schools in Leeds congregated in Roundhay Park arena for dancing, displays and sports. There was the Queen and her attendants, a fancy dress parade and a bonny baby competition.

Football hero

There is an 1954 item on Leeds' football hero John Charles while he was on the transfer list at a price of £50,000, and even a backstage look at the filming of Sooty.

As well as these 16 films the whole archive is available to be searched for many other films about Leeds or indeed events around West Yorkshire and the wider world.

The first job of the archive was actually to help with distributing and licensing film clips to documentary programme makers.

However, the website set up primarily for film researchers has been increasingly used by people looking for a glimpse of local history.

Social history

Pathé logo
This logo once meant news from far and wide straight to a local cinema

Alastair White, General Manager of the archive says:

"We have catalogued all the many films very well, but you can only do so much. We can only write what we see on the film and sometimes we cannot get it exactly right.

"If anybody sees any inaccuracies in the description of the clips we are very happy for people to contact Pathé."

Cinema newsreels were the main way that news was distributed before the age of TV. Pathé films therefore caught a wide range of social history as it happened.

Alastair adds, "We've found out that people really enjoy going online and looking out for relatives and localities they know."

A rich assortment

Pathé was initially established in Paris in the 1890s and is named after company founder Charles Pathé.

After 1928, sound was introduced and by 1930, Pathé was covering news, entertainment, sport and culture around the world.

By the time Pathé eventually stopped producing the cinema newsreel in the 1970s, it had accumulated a rich assortment of historical footage including the Titanic in Belfast, Queen Victoria's funeral, the Hindenburg disaster, Elvis Presley and Albert Einstein.

The archive contains more than 3,500 hours of filmed history, 90,000 news items and 12 million stills.

Pathé films bring back Notts past
02 Jun 10 |  History



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