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07 JULY 2015

Britain on Film: collection of archive footage goes online today

"Around 2,500 films including home movies, documentaries and news footage from Victorian times up to the 1980s is now available online.

The grainy footage is of dozens of shifty men in flat caps, smoking cigarettes, talking to each other in a market square, some exchanging money, others nervously keeping watch. And then men in trilbies spring from nowhere, making arrests and bundling people into vans. The remarkable surveillance footage is from 1935 and is significant because it was the first film used as evidence in a British court of law. Police, or specifically PC Saunders – proudly named in the end credit – filmed what was an illegal betting ring going on in Chesterfield’s market square.

The film is one of around 2,500 from the BFI archives – that are now accessible online, via the BFI Player, from Tuesday as part of a huge project called Britain on Film. They include home movies, documentaries and news footage from Victorian times to as recently as 1980."

(Mark Brown, 07 July 2015)




1935BFI • BFI archives • BFI National Archive • BFI Player • Britain on Film • British Film Institute • court of law • cultural heritagedigitisation projectfilm archive • flat cap • grainy footage • illegal behaviour • illegal betting ring • market square • national cultural heritage onlinenational film archivenews footagepolice • shifty men • social history • surveillance footage • trilby


Simon Perkins

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