Places + Locations | 1940 | Silent | Colour
The county of Kent in South-East England. Visiting some of the main towns along Watling Street 1940's
Passenger stand near a single decker bus in Victoria coach station. A red and cream bus with chrome trim leaves the bus station.
"This bus is leaving London for Dover on one of the oldest roads in the country - Watling Street".
An animated map of the county of Kent illustrates the road going to Rochester, onto Canterbury and then down to Dover at the coast.
"Leaving London, the road passes through the highly developed industrial area on the South Bank of the Thames".
A single decker East Kent red bus drives along a road. A man cycles in the opposite direction. View of rural landscape with chalk quarry. In the pit a digger type machine loads chalk into carts which are positioned on tracks. A man stands nearby. The filled trucks are pulled along the track. View of a steam engine coming into a yard which has smoking chimneys.
"Rochester and Chatham, centuries old city and port, with naval dockyards famous for shipbuilding".
Shot the large River Medway estuary at Rochester, with boats in the foreground. A misty Rochester Cathedral (or perhaps it’s the castle?) looks over the town. Closer shot of the castle taken through the hanging branches of a tree.
Further areas are illustrated on the animated map - the North Downs, the Weald, Romney Marsh.
"The North Downs, a range of chalk hills overlooking the Weald, are an important sheep-raising area".
Panning shot of the rolling hills of the North Downs. A flock of sheep graze behind a wooden fence. A lamb stands alone, then a pair with their mother.
"The Weald, once a forest area, is now fine agricultural land".
Fields are bordered by hedges with occasional trees. A farmer drives a tractor through a field. A combine harvester cuts hay and spits out loosely packed bales from the side.
"Early in the year the hop poles are erected in the famous Kentish hop fields".
Two men attach cross pieces to the tops of the poles - one stands up a ladder. They position an upright into a hole.
"And the harrows are at work in the orchards".
A farmer drives a tractor through between the gaps in the trees. Shots of fully grown hops (?) and trees that are in blossom. Image of white blossom against the blue sky.
"In Autumn the fruit and hops are ready for picking".
Fruit boxes bear the name of a Covent Garden company. Ladders reach up into the tops of trees, leaning against each other, and people pick fruit and put it into their baskets. A woman has her basket hooked onto a branch as she strips it of fruit. Another drops apples into her basket with great speed. On the ground apples are tipped into wooden boxes or crates. They are put onto the back of a flat bed truck or cart, and stacked by a man standing on the back. The cart is driven off with a load of apples and the chap standing on the back. A long pole is used to shake the hops which are growing up the hop poles. On the ground women wearing head scarves and a few men strip the branches of their fruit. Close up of hands working fast to collect the fruit. The fruit is scooped put of a box by a man using a basket and tipped into a large sack. A man and a woman holds either side of the sacks and hoist them up onto the back of a lorry. The lorry drives off with a full load.
"Oast houses, where the hops are dried, are a familiar feature of the countryside".
An oast house behind a fence is surrounded by trees. Shot of a pair of round oast towers, then another pair with pointed tops. Workers unload the truck and carry sacks of hops up an external staircase and into the oast house. A man with a cap gets them off the back of a truck.
On the animated map a large arrow points to Romney Marsh.
"Where the Weald meets the sea is Romney Marsh - famous for its sheep".
View of the landscape with reed type plants in the foreground. Sheep graze in an open field.
On the map an arrow points to Canterbury.
"Canterbury, an ancient cathedral city and the ecclesiastical centre of England for 14 centuries".
View of the West Gate leading into the town. A red and cream bus passes through and round a corner. The bus passes camera. The cathedral is seen from the High Street, through a small side road which has Boots chemist on the corner. From further along the same side road we see the gate into the cathedral. Shot of the cathedral. Close up of the cathedral's main tower. From the interior a stained glass window is seen.
"The coast of Kent has many popular holiday resorts".
Herne Bay, Margate, Ramsgate and Folkestone are shown on the map.
General views of Margate (I think) - the harbour and the sea front. People sit on the sandy beach. Children have donkey rides along the shore line.
The map shows the Kent Coalfield, just above Dover.
"The Kent Coalfield is important because of its isolated position away from the main coalfields of England".
Panning shot of the countryside with a large slag heap near railway lines. Industrial pit head coal machinery. A bus drives along a rural road. Road signs count down the distance to Dover (Dover 8, Dover 7…). The bus continues to drive through the countryside. A high shot shows a red bus driving through the streets of Dover town. It goes towards the seafront where the white cliffs of Dover can be seen. Dover castle sits on top of the hill.
"17 miles across the English Channel to the Continent".
A wider map shot shows the English Channel and red arrows from the port of Dover show the routes to Calais and Dunkirk. A Golden Arrow steam train travels along near the port. Good shot of the name on the front of the engine as the locomotive steams past camera. The train pulls into the station. An RAC road sign points to the A2 Continental Boats. A large ship sits in dock with smoke coming from the funnel. The Continental Express train moves towards the port. A ship moves out of the harbour, and into the open sea with the white cliffs in the background.
By way of a summary we return to a bank map of the county of Kent. An animated bus drives to Rochester. The River Medway appears and finds its way to the sea. Maidstone and Chatham are illustrated. The bus carries on past the North Downs (the Weald and Romney Marsh also appear) and on to Canterbury. Herne Bay, Margate, Ramsgate and Folkestone are marked. The bus then reaches Dover where a boat sails off the edge of the map.
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