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.
Scenes of early morning in London and typical suburban streets.
Moving on to Covent Garden with buyers, sellers and pedestrians all busy about their work.
Charming vignette of a girl and two boys, she is peeling a banana and after a little thought she shares it equally with them both.
Change of scene to people queuing at a Greengrocers shop to buy their fruit and vegetables.
Workers including members of the Womens Land Army busy harvesting potatoes.
A machine that mechanically sorts the potatoes by size before they are packed into sacks.
Barker and Son of Ottershaw some 20 miles from London is the Market Garden shown.
Many potatoes are kept in clamps and released to the Market as needed, but vegetables such as cabbage etc are picked before midday and packed and loaded for despatch to London.
There is plenty of farm machinery which at this time were replacing the Horse to be seen throughout this film, including a useful hoeing machine that could hoe six rows at once this was made by Bean & Co. and was said to be new at this time.
A potato spinner attached to a tractor could dig out the potatoes and by spinning them out of the ground and catching them against canvas flaps ready to be gathered later by the women working at great speed and placed into sacks ready for the sorting machine.
Produce arrives at Covent Garden by lorry, train and air.
It is pointed out that lorries must be packed carefully, as badly stacked crates can easily be overturned. Picture of once such unfortunate lorry with its load strewn over the pavement.
With so many lorries arriving at the same time congestion is inevitably a problem with police trying to maintain some sort of order.
A brief history is given of the streets surrounding the Market. Long Acre privately owned Tavistock St. At No.4. a remarkable story of Miss Margo Wray and the Earl of Sandwich are related which culminated in murder and the Earl being hanged.
St.Pauls Church by the architect Inigo Jones was built for the Earl of Bedford and which due to the Earl being short of funds was described as the handsomest barn in all England.
Bow Street Police Station, home of the Bow Street Runners in 1749.
King St, Russell Street, New Row and Garrick Street home of the Garrick Club named after David Garrick 18th Century actor.
Freemasons Hall at the top of Long Acre, Headquarters of the Masonic movement in the UK.
This was built to commemorate the lives of Freemasons killed in the Great War.
The Covent Garden Opera House was originally built 1772, burnt down twice rebuilt and called the Covent Garden Theatre and then the Italian Opera House and in 1892 Royal Opera House.
14m51ss A poster displaying the resumption of Concerts by the London Philharmonic Orchestra at 3pm on Sundays. Can be seen here.
15.23ss The Tin Market named because of its tin roof.
15m54ss The Floral Hall designed to be a Flower Market but never used as such.
As the market is privately owned a toll is charged for all packages that pass through it, these are collected by Toll Officials they also help police with traffic control.
There are lots of lorries and barrows shown with names of their owners clearly distinguishable on their sides.
18m47ss. A pair of horses drawing a cart are seen struggling in the rain to keep upright. 19m4ss.They eventually fall over and a lot of manhandling ensues to get them back on their feet.
This is a very good film for studying the agricultural worker the machinery they were using and forms of transport in use at this time in the Twentieth Century.
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