Film: 5019

London | 1940 | Sound | B/W


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In and around Covent Garden Market in the mid Twentieth Century. Including farming methods in use at that time 1940's

Deserted streets in early morning in London suburbs. A riverside view. View of an upstairs bay window in a house. A person under the covers in their bedroom.
Covent Garden market with buyers, sellers and pedestrians all busy about their work. Unloading crates of fresh food. Lorries parked in the street. View down the street. Vendors carry sacks and crates over their shoulders. Rubbish on the footpath gets trodden on by many feet.
Charming clip of a girl and two boys, she is peeling a banana and after a little thought she shares it equally with them both. A woman’s hands arrange a glass fruit bowl on a table. A man walks to his gate on a residential street, carrying a bouquet of flowers and his briefcase.
Change of scene to people queuing at a Greengrocers shop to buy their fruit and vegetables.
Workers in a field at a market garden. A machine that mechanically sorts potatoes by size before they are packed into sacks.
Rural scenes of a farmhouse and yard. Sign on a tree for Barker and Son, Great Grove Farm, Ottershaw. Below is a board advertising for farm workers. Views across fields of crops and market vegetables.
A group of female farm workers sit around chatting to each other. They are members of the Womens’ Land Army. They get up from their break to head back to work. A tractor trundles across the yard in the background. Women harvesting marrows, cabbages and carrots in the fields.
Hay being laid out in a barn. A field is ploughed by tractor. A mechanised hoe in operation.
A potato spinner attached to a tractor digs out the potatoes and by spinning them out of the ground. Land Army girls gather the potatoes at great speed, placing them into baskets. Potatoes are then sorted by size using a machine. Sacks are loaded on a lorry.
Various short clips of lorries and trucks laden with goods driving along roads. One vegetable lorry has lost its load in the street and is stared at by pedestrians walking to work in central London. Brief overhead view of a train.
Covent Garden market in full swing. Overhead view of many trucks delivering produce. Piles of sacked produce and barrow boys moving things around. A man in a suit picks up a piece of fruit as he walks past a stall.
Tavistock St. London. Street sign. Views of pedestrians walking along the street at the junction with Southampton Street. A horse and carriage goes past. Prolonged view of the exterior of 4 Tavistock Street. A barrow boy wheels produce past. View of Covered Way (it now houses the London Transport Museum). People walk past, going about their market business. Sign over a building for Capstan Tea Rooms. Horse cart piled high with empty crates, while the horse eats from a nose bag.
St. Pauls Church Convent Garden – various views. Bow Street sign and the Police Station.
King St sign and overhead view of the street, busy with market traffic. Russell Street sign and view along street with a post box in the foreground. Shopfront at 8 Russell Street, a greengrocer. New Row with vehicles being unloaded. The Market House (or pub) with market workers entering and exiting. Garrick Street with a view along the street as a lorry heads away from the camera.
Freemasons Hall at the top of Long Acre, Headquarters of the Masonic movement in the UK.
Long Acre sign and views of traffic moving along the street. The Royal Opera House Covent Garden and lots of market traffic outside. A poster displaying the resumption of Concerts by the London Philharmonic Orchestra at 3pm on Sundays. People queue to enter the Opera House. A glamourous woman in a floral hat walks past.

The Tin Market Covent Garden with lots of market activity. The Floral Hall fruit market interior. Actual flower market in a separate building. A female stall holder arranges bunches of flowers. Policeman tries to move traffic through the congested area. Horse and carts and lorries all moving through. Policeman stops to look in the window of a truck where a young boy and dog are peering out the window.
Toll officials standing around the market. They write in their little books as they stop beside stalls. One toll official assists with moving traffic on to ease congestion. A horse with a nose bag waits patiently. A pair of horses drawing a heavily laden cart are seen slipping in the rain. Sellers stand under huge umbrellas. Back to the horses, who have fallen over on the wet cobbles and have to be unleashed and helped to their feet. Overhead view of the chaotic and traffic choked market. One van stands out, with an advert on its side, “Cook Better With Bovril”. Lots of pedestrians. Endless stream of porters with hand carts and sack barrows. A policeman wearing his wet weather coat. Boy with a bicycle and large basket on the front. A typical day in the operation of Covent Garden Market, London 1940s. A lorry with a single front wheel (in the style of a Reliant vehicle) drives past. A boy sits on the crates on the rear of the vehicle. More vehicles and more traffic jams around the market square.
A salesman in his small hut negotiates with a buyer, surrounded by his produce. Various views of salesmen at work, from tiny desks or boxes out in the open or on the back of a lorry. M&H Bessent marked on one trader’s stand. Men in hats and suits write in note books and inspect produce. One woman buyer in a long trench coat holds cash in her hand as she negotiates at a stall. Other men doing deals.
Convent Garden porters, moving crates, loading hand carts and sack barrows. Porter standing beside a truck. His badge is visible, pinned to her overalls. Some porters carrying boxes on their heads. Children with sacks rummage through rubbish and discarded boxes of produce.
An array of bagged and boxed vegetable items on display. Crates from abroad showing stamps as to where the diverse produce has come from, South Africa, France, Italy and Holland. Stack of boxes with 3 shilling stamped on the side – the deposit for a crate.
Sequence of short shots showing empty crates and boxes being loaded onto wagons and vans at the end of the market day. Side streets with lots of parked lorries.
Manuels Ltd – a green grocer. A truck pulls up outside the shop and a man enters with a sack of fresh produce on his shoulder, to resupply the retailer.
Riverside view of London when it is still quiet. Deserted residential street. An alarm clock goes off on a bedside table and a arm in striped pyjamas reaches out to stop it. The same shot is repeated with different hands and clocks, representing people waking up. A woman rolls over in bed, glances at her clock and leaps out of bed. View out of the window onto residential street below. A cyclist rides past. Milk bottles on a doorstep, as the door is opened and a woman picks them up.
People purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables from stalls and shops on the high street. One woman carries a basket and walks a small dog.
A couple, arm in arm, stroll through Covent Garden, which is quiet and deserted. View of the Floral Hall and along James Street with no one in sight and no vehicles. A milkman walks across the camera carrying milk bottles. Closed pubs or merchant houses. Empty stacks of crates and boxes. The couple get closer to the camera and the girl stops to pick up a discard apple. So tosses it to the gutter and they stroll on, filmed from behind.

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