Film: 5793

London | 1960 | Sound | B/W


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Passengers descending on two escalators; voiceover says centenary of underground transport in London is also world centenary. Looking into a tube train as it passes left to right. Driver at the controls. View forward into the tunnel, as train passes through station on Piccadilly Line; the underground is to London what the skyscraper is to New York.

Five close-ups of engravings showing life in Victorian London. Two shots of handbills about death and the cholera epidemic. Three shots of engravings of the construction of sewers in the 1850s. Two still photographs of interiors of sewers. Two engravings of crowded London streets. Photograph of Charles Pearson, who thought of the Underground. Close-up of his head and shoulders; he was solicitor to the City of London. Rostrum pan across engraving, to show train below ground level. Ten shots of engravings of railway construction; Metropolitan Railway was earliest; first section was from Paddington to Farringdon Street. 1862 photograph of Metropolitan Railway trial trip by Miss Gladstone, the Chief Engineer John Fowler, and others. Three engravings of the official opening banquet in 1863. Engraving of the railway.

Mr Duncan, chief civil engineer of London Transport, standing speaking on the platform of Notting Hill Gate station, on the Inner Circle line - which reached there about 1870; a train pulls in from right, behind him; describes 'cut and cover' construction. The entrance to the brick tunnel. Close-up of Duncan as train pulls away. Duncan reading quotation from Mr Pearson. Six shots of engravings of Metropolitan railway construction, and engines. Three photographs of underground steam engines, two with 'District Railway' on their sides. Eleven shots of engravings of railway construction, Baker Street station, suburban London, etc. Graphic of London railways in 1884. Two engravings, relevant to the coming of electricity to London's locomotives in 1890. Two photographs of electric locomotives, one with 'C.L.R.' on its side. Photograph of power station on Thames bank. Engraving of deep tunnel railway. Photo of James Henry Greathead. Two plans of the tunnelling shield he invented. Engraving of the shield. Three photographs of Victorian tunnelling.

Eminent civil engineer Mr Harding, seated at desk in his library, speaks to camera; explains that no tubes in south-east London because ground too sandy; electricity not only meant you could have deep tunnels without ventilation, but also lifts for passengers.

Vintage film of busy horse-drawn traffic in London. A horse omnibus passing the Criterion Theatre, and a building saying 'London & North… Univer…'; the front of another omnibus comes into view, destination board showing 'Hyde Park… Bromp… Walham Cm F', advert for Maple carpets.

Seated in a window overlooking Westminster Bridge and Big Ben, Lord Morrison speaks about buses. Close-up of Morrison speaking about bus drivers, and the respect they were held in. Fraction of a second showing vehicles passing bus stops, a van advertising Home & Colonial Tea. Morrison on transport problems. Longer shot of Morrison.

Painting of Lord Ashfield, who tried to introduce railway grouping. Morrison saying Ashfield never managed to include the Metropolitan or the municipal tramways. Close-up of Morrison explaining that competition made it difficult for investment. Longer shot of Morrison saying competition would have to reduce. Close-up of Morrison saying he'd come to be described as the traffic expert on London. Longer shot of Morrison saying that in 1929 he became Minister of Transport, which included electricity. Close shot of Morrison saying how he was responsible for setting up London Transport as a public corporation.

Train exits towards us, from brick tunnel. Country scene, building at left. Exterior of new suburban Underground station. Train pulls in at new (1930s) station. Statue of kneeling archer at station. Canopy sign for Perivale station. Train leaving East Finchley station. Frontage of St Johns Wood station. Overview of station platforms. Looking up at London Transport sign. Animation of growth of Underground network.

Mr Harding giving a presentation. His audience at the Institution of Civil Engineers (all white men). Harding giving OHP show about getting people up and down to the trains. His audience. He draws on the overhead projector. Close-up of him drawing - how escalators improved on lifts. A tube station under construction (still). A sign about Metropolitan Railway station reconstruction. Tall building - Senate House?

Still of Frank Pick. Epstein sculpture. Six shots of painted London Transport posters.

Two night-time shots of West End. Wilson and Keppel doing sand dance on stage. Two men doing dance routine. Neon signs for, successively, Grosvenor House, Ham Bone Club, Ballroom. Ballroom dancing, people seated at tables in foreground. Closer shot of dancers. Line of high-kicking chorus girls. Girls dancing in concentric circles; closer view. Jessie Matthews singing on stage.

Seated, maturer Jessie Matthews reminiscing about London theatre in the 1930s. Well-dressed people in theatre foyer. Man and woman in evening dress, talking. Charles Laughton smoking cigarette, with others in evening dress. Three shots of well-dressed people in foyer. Pan along street of identical 1930s suburban houses. Five tracking shots along 1930s suburban streets.

A steam whistle blows. Two women run left to right along a street. Rear view of man running in raincoat and bowler hat, carrying umbrella. People boarding tube train. Beneath a clock saying 7:46, people board train. Woman boards train. Train pulls out. Commuters standing on train. Train enters tunnel. Men in coats and trilby hats ascend stairs from station. Commuters ascend stairs, buses waiting at rear. Two buses approach, the second a 29 bound for Victoria station.

Close shot of commuters walking along street. Legs of a horse trotting left to right. Men's feet ascending stairs. A van passes to left. Bottom halves of walking commuters. A taxi passes left to right, a 19 bus behind. Bottom halves of commuters. A car - reg EGO 344 - passes in front of a van.

Close-up of an air-raid siren sounding. A newly-constructed Anderson shelter. Looking down on people entering the sandbagged entrance to a tube station. Ground-level view of people entering. Looking up at the Underground sign above; tilt down to placard reading 'NOTICE TO PASSENGERS. Railway services today at this station are generally reserved for the evacuation of the civil population. A restricted service only will be available for other passengers.' Close-up of the placard.

A line of children evacuees walking to right in front of school building. A group of children putting on gas masks. Close-up of Jessie Matthew reminiscing. A First World War double decker bus troop carrier driving to right. A line of troop-carrying buses and vans.

In darkness, a flash shows two air-raid wardens beside a sandbagged shelter, with a striped signpost saying 'S here'. Anti-aircraft guns fire. Windows lit up in flash. Silhouette of St Paul's cathedral in flash from guns. Walking air-raid warden lit up by flash. Jessie Matthews reminiscing.

Burning buildings, by night. A fireman at the top of a ladder directs his hose. Firemen fighting fire. Burning buildings. Two shots of firemen wielding their hoses. Henry Moore standing between two statues in his studio, reminiscing.

Travelling down an escalator towards people sheltering on the platform; poster advert at left for 'Eugène'. Couple settling themselves under a blanket on the platform.

Two drawings of people sheltering in tube stations. Moore talking about seeing rows and rows of reclining figures, favourite subjects of his. Mother and child lying on platform. Two tracking shots along crowded platforms. Tracking shot along people in double bunks. Two Moore drawings of people sheltering. Moore talking. Four Moore drawings of people sheltering. Pan over a sleeping family of three.

Rostrum zoom out on bomb damage to tube station; only 152 people killed in tube stations in whole war. Dissolve to rostrum pan over still of bomb damage at Whitechapel station. Downward view of severe damage to tunnel. Three stills of mangled trains. Still of badly damaged escalators. Uniformed men shovelling rubble at Sloane Square tube station. Different view of same scene; weighing and vending machines on platform; an officer supervises.

Tilt down from Big Ben showing 3:45 to heaving crowds below. Churchill, cigar clamped in mouth, takes cheers. Three boys walk between two huge mounds of rubble towards distant tenement blocks. Two shots of tube trains moving.

Close-up of sign reading 'Central Line Eastern Extension Open May 5 LNER Through trains from the West End and City.'; tilt up to show graphic of direction towards Stratford, Leyton, and Leytonstone.

Rural scene, buildings in distance, a tractor in centre shot; pan down to show a tube train passing to left. Sign saying 'Central Line Western Extension Open Jun 30 GWR Through trains from the City and West End'; tilt up to show graphic of direction towards North Acton, Hanger Land, Perivale and Greenford.
View forward of run into tunnel. Young girl takes big bite of candy floss.

Pan across Festival of Britain building. Tilt down from the Skylon to four people eating dinner round a square table in a restaurant. Crowds descending stairs at Waterloo. Crowd of women descending slope towards us. Frontage of Royal Festival Hall, statue at right foreground. Balloons released into the sky.

View inside moving train - well-dressed people. Four people seated on train. Close-up of man strap-hanging (strap with bakelite knob). Station platform clock showing 8:29, train pulls in towards us, destination High Barnet. On train, people rise to get off. On platform, people get off train. People boarding escalator; at left is sign 'To Street'. Looking up escalators: two ascending, one descending. Looking at front of train as driver puts up diagonal sign saying 'Children's Special'. Close-up of sign. Women walk along platform towards us.

11-year-old Georgina Roberts, in beret, pigtails, and glasses, faces left, smiling; dissolve to her now, a lab technician at Charing Cross Medical School. She inspects a test tube, then faces camera and reminisces about Coronation Day. Aboard a train, a woman in translucent plastic mack distributes leaflets. View forward along train track. Westminster Station sign, foot of stairs from platform, people ascend, one carrying placard. Roberts speaks to camera. Profile of 1953 Roberts, apparently in Girl Guide's uniform, cheering. Crowd waving. Coronation Coach passes left to right, hat-waving crowds in foreground. Rear view of procession up the Embankment towards Parliament.

Tilt down from dome of St Paul's, then pan round post-war development. Crowd crossing bridge over Farringdon Street. View up high office block. Crowd. Office block. Crowd crossing London Bridge. Van passes in front of crowd waiting to cross road. Policeman steps between bus and van, instructing van to stop; van has 'J.M. Turnell & Co. Covent Garden' on side. Oil tanker passes in front of tube station, office block behind. Traffic at Hyde Park Corner. Looking down on very long bus queue. Milling crowds and traffic. A taxi passes as people try to cross road. Close shot of side of bus saying 'Green Line London Transport'. Bus queue. A man's feet as he mounts a bus platform. Buses at Victoria Station; one has Gold Leaf ad on side; a Pickfords removal van. Taxis, people crossing, a bus with 'Drinka Pinta Milka Day' ad on side. Traffic by Admiralty Arch. A bus passes. A traffic warden checks a parking meter. Milling people; traffic; a bus advertising Typhoo Tea; Goldsmiths Assn shop at left; pan showing the crowd are headed for Oxford Circus tube station.

Two crowded escalators heading downward, seen from below. People ascending station stairs. Busy platform, people getting off train.

Duncan speaking to camera, in front of ticket barrier. Pan round new ticket hall joining two lines. Electronic display of tube traffic. Punched paper printout of train times. View up a platform as a train pulls in; a woman crosses to an information booth. She presses the button and speaks. In the control room, a man speaks into a microphone, answering her query. She thanks him and leaves. A moving CCTV camera. Man controlling the viewing screens.

Driver in cab of moving train, arms folded. View from open platform as train headed for Mansion House pulls in. Pan across Thames from Embankment Dolphin to Houses of Parliament, then round, following lighter, to Millbank Tower and up. Mr Harding, seated, speaks to us about current tunnelling issues. View down on construction site. Animated graphic showing line of new Victoria Line. Five shots of tunnelling works.

Tilt down from portrait of Lord Ashfield to present chairman Mr Valentine, who takes off his glasses and draws film to a conclusion. Close-up of Valentine speaking. Victorian engraving of traffic pressures. Valentine speaking. Aerial view over St Paul's. Aerial view over Trafalgar Square. View down tunnel from end of train leaving station.

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