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Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Tuesday, 21 September 2010 12:40 UK
British Pathé's archive footage of Suffolk life
By Richard Haugh
BBC Suffolk

Ipswich floods, 1939
Severe flooding in Ipswich is amongst the archive footage

British Pathé has published over 300 archive videos of life in Suffolk and is asking for local input to identify the people and places covered.

The aftermath of bombings and severe flooding are contrasted by the pub sport of dwile flonking and tiny sculptures made of clay.

"We need local sets of eyes," said Jack Cullen of British Pathé.

"Many villages and towns wouldn't have been written down in the canister notes by the cameramen at the time."

The newsreel films were originally shown in theatres and cinemas but can now be seen via the British Pathé website.

British Pathé would like to hear from you if you can offer any corrections or additional contributions to the current descriptions. E-mail: localhistory@britishpathe.com

You can search for 'Suffolk' to see the full list of films, but here are a few you might want to look out for:


The archive footage gives a glimpse of Suffolk life during war time.

One clip shows the aftermath of bombing in Bury St Edmunds during 1914-1918.

Police control onlookers standing outside a bank as people pick their way through the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Bombs over Bury

The aftermath of bombing in Bury St Edmunds
The aftermath of World War I bombing in Bury St Edmunds

A more jubilant scene is shown in Hadleigh, where the streets are lined with people to sing the praises of Squadron Leader G R Gayford.

The date is given as 1933 and the voice over explains that Gayford broke the non-stop long-distance air record.

He is shown receiving a plaque, on what was also his 40th birthday.

A hero's homecoming

Queen Victoria statue outside Christchurch Park, Ipswich
Queen Victoria's statue no longer sits outside Christchurch Park

Could King George VI have been a cameraman if he was not destined to lead the country?

You can judge for yourself from footage of the then Prince Albert, Duke of York, as he attends a boys camp in Southwold and tries his hand behind the camera.

The young prince looks on as the boys have a kick around and also gets involved in their singalong.

The future king camps in Southwold

King George VI's brother is also captured on film, attending what is billed as the Royal Agricultural Show in 1934.

Prince Edward, the then Prince of Wales who became King Edward VIII before abdicating, demonstrates his knowledge of plants and inspects a guard of honour.

Prince Edward on show in Ipswich

Queen Victoria also makes a cameo, in the shape of a bronze statue outside Christchurch Mansion.

The statue, which is no longer there, appears as part of a tour of Ipswich's architecture from 1943.

Queen Victoria and a tour of Ipswich's architecture

Dwile flonking
If you've got beer and a dishcloth, you can play dwile flonking

The art of dwile flonking has been covered by BBC Suffolk in the past, to such an extent that you can even play an online version of dwile flonking via our website.

Zany music accompanies British Pathé's 1967 footage of the Waveney Valley Dwile Flonkers competing in the only game we know of which involves throwing beer-soaked dishcloths at each other.

Watching it is two minutes well spent: The art of dwile flonking .

Gainsborough and Constable may be amongst our best known and loved exports, but British Pathé can shed light on a lesser known artist.

William Arthur lived in Bury St Edmunds in 1934 and used the materials at his disposal, clay, to form tiny sculptures.

The clay man of Bury

And there's a celebratory film, albeit cut short, for Lowestoft dairy woman Ada Roe.

In 1968 she was 'Britain's oldest inhabitant', aged 110.

Lowestoft's spritely 110-year-old

Water run off in Ipswich, 1939
Thawing snow played havoc in Ipswich back in 1939

The Ipswich Waterfront, now home to University Campus Suffolk, looked very different 70 years ago.

Presented in a surprisingly comical tone, this footage shows how Ipswich was effected by the winter of 1939.

"If your joint is late today, don't blame the butcher's boy."

Ipswich underwater

The House in the Clouds, Thorpeness
Take a tour of the House in the Clouds, as it was in 1959

The House in the Clouds is an iconic image of Thorpeness, and Suffolk, overlooking the mere and towards Aldeburgh.

In 2010, you can choose to stay in there for £500 plus a night.

Back in 1959 the water tower housed an American family who were kind enough to open their doors and provide a guided tour.

But why didn't they open the curtains? A tour of the House in the Clouds

A second mention for Constable. The Flatford house featured in his Hay Wain painting comes under the spotlight and its preservation is said to be one reason 'why our men fight and die'.

Flatford in 1940

Finally, windmill enthusiasts and anyone wondering what noise the machinery makes will enjoy this look at a working mill in Woodbridge, from 1948.

The working windmill, Woodbridge

Power plan for Constable's Mill
27 Jul 10 |  People & Places
Constable location mystery solved
26 Jan 10 |  Arts & Culture
Hay Wain given road sign makeover
05 Aug 09 |  Arts & Culture
Clean sweep at famous mill
02 Apr 07 |  England




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