Wednesday, 15 May 2013

London 1920s...



I find this absolutely charming, with some eerie and enigmatic music by Neil Brand, which seems to bring a new dimension to the film.

Also, as mentioned elsewhere, London seems strange with no skyscrapers!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow that is utterly charming! I expected Genevieve to drive by :-)
I was struck by all the men in Petticoat Lane and so few women.

Thanks for that, Scrobs,
said Pip

rvi said...

Boy, did that bring back some memories. I grew up in east London during and just after the war. The house next door to ours took a direct hit, so there was just a patch of scrub for a "garden". My gran lived very near the river just along from the Tower, and as a kid I used to go (on my own and in perfect safety!) to a nearby park which fronted the river carrying a paper bag full of jam sandwiches in case I got hungry. I can still visualise the cargo boats and barges going into and out of what was then known as London Docks, and the little white steamer that used to ply between Tower bridge and Southend pier (sorry, can't recall its name now). I watched Tower bridge go up and down countless times as they moved in and out.

Petticoat Lane was another haunt on a Sunday morning - and I still have and use a plywood trunk I bought there in 1964 for two pounds and ten shillings! It has been round the world with me a few times too! One of the real treats though was a hot bagel and a sugar covered jam doughnut from the Jewish baker shop half way down. Yum!! Those were the days my friend..

I used to love tram rides too, still do actually - so whenever I am in a place with trams - Geneva, Vienna, Oslo etc, I always make a point of having a ride just for the fun of it. One of the greatest pleasures we lads had was rushing out into the middle of the road and placing a few caps, bought in the local toy shop for tuppence a roll of 100, in the tram tracks, then waiting for a tram to come by and set them off.

Simple pleasures. But that all changed with the arrival of the Windrush. Life was never the same after that and will never ever be again. Sad really.

Scrobs... said...

It's gorgeous, isn't it Pips! BP says that it is some of the best film from that time that he has ever seen, as he's a bit of an expert on such matters, and I tend to agree with him!

I just love the music though, it's so unusual!

Scrobs... said...

Blimey Reevers, I didn't think it was going to be that evocative, but thank you!

I find it a bit poignant too, as my experience of London was only a train terminal change in the early sixties, although I lived in various seedy flats for several years up to 1972.

Luckily, bagels made a come-back a few years ago, and yes, they are a firm favourite!

Was it this ferry?

http://freespace.virgin.net/tom.lee/sovereignimg.htm

rvi said...

Gosh Scrobs - you outdid Sherlock there finding that pic! Yes indeed that was it. I also vaguely recall taking the trip to Southend on it as a very young fellow. It was fun going under the raised arms of the bridge. When we got there, it was off the boat, into the famous Kursaal (sp?) fun fair for an hour or two, a newspaper full of fish and chips, and then back home on the smoky train clutching a couple of sticks of rock, a toffee apple and with a face full of exceptionally sticky pink candy floss on a stick. Small pleasures one never quite forgets in what was quite an austere world.

A few years later we had moved south of the river, but to get to granny's still involved going over Tower bridge on the bus and on several occasions I was the lucky kid who had snaffled the front seat upstairs and was able to watch in awe as the bridge went up and down right in front of me as a boat or two passed under. It must have been constant high tide in those days as my bus almost always seemed to be stopped for a lifting.

All your film needed was a bit of gentle Scott Joplin playing in the background!

Blue Eyes said...

It's wonderful. What struck me was how CLEAN it looked. We are supposed to think that until coal was banned London looked permanently sooty.

London is such a great place. Some of it hasn't changed in hundreds of years and some of it is in perpetual revolution. I love it.

rvi said...

Blue - London was reasonably clean until the post war boom in motorised traffic. I wonder if you are old enough to recall the real winter pea-soupers of the 1950s and early 1960s? I suspect not, but these very dense grey-green fogs came regularly out of nowhere when the appropriate still, windless, weather conditions were in place and sometimes lasted almost a week until the weather changed and the wind blew it all away (until the next time!). Folks would get up in the morning, still dark, and find visibility at about 3 yards and unable even to see across the road. Things improved very slightly as the day wore on, but by 4.30pm the fog began to descend again and once it was dark visibility was again virtually zero. Traffic crawled at walking pace causing even more fumes to be belched out of their exhausts. Many street lights in those days were still ancient gas lamps which gave virtually no light worth having beyond their immediate area. One night in one of these fogs my dad could barely see the front of the car and, with the headlights worse than useless - merely offering a solid white wall of fog in front of us - I had to get out and lead him yard by yard along the road to prevent us crashing into something unlit parked along the way. There was a constant taste of smoke in your mouth and eyes were constantly watering too. Chesty coughs were the order of the day and on some occasions it was only people coughing their way along that told you somebody was actually nearby. It was unpleasant, but stoic Londoners just seemed to get on with it.

The Clean Air Act was one of the best things ever to happen for London as within a very short time the fogs caused by coal burning and vehicle exhausts were no more. It was then good to see local councils organise building clean-ups to wash years of grime, soot and fug off their outsides and many came up again like new.

I imagine something similar was happening in towns and cities all over England, but it was London that seemed to make the news on all this at the time.

Electro-Kevin said...

Quite clearly from this film the British people were lawless scum and needed 'modernising'.

Michael said...

Reevers, that's so interesting! Southend has still got a margin of similar attractions, although I haven't been there for a few years!

Neil Brand is a specialised musician in silent films (just Youtube his stuff, and he's there with similar to what you describe, although, tes, a little Scott Joplin could have made the trams go faster)!

Scrobs... said...

That was me Reevers, of course...;0)

Scrobs... said...

Blues, I hadn't really concentrated on the subject of your comment, but yes, you're dead right, it is a much cleaner place isn't it!

Staring at the film again, all I see is a third of the height of London today, and it seems such a benign place, although presumably there were a few problems here and there...!

Scrobs... said...

I never experienced a proper 'pea souper', Reevers, but grew up with tales similar to yours!

And everyone smoked as well!

Scrobs... said...

Trust Elecs to bring Harold Wilson into the discussion...

rvi said...

Scrobs: Just seen this chez Guido today.

You and Blue will like it! Ah, such lovely memories *cough*...

Toodle pip.

Scrobs... said...

Oh yes, it was just when I started to notice 'Giles' cartoons, he often mentioned the stuff...;0)