1920s Britain in colour
June 17, 2013 2:46 AM   Subscribe

In the mid-1920s, Claude Friese-Greene filmed The Open Road, a record of his journey through Britain, using the 'Biocolour' technique first developed by his father William. Eighty years later, the BFI produced a digital version of the preserved and restored film. We've seen London in 1926 previously on MeFi, but there's plenty more of The Open Road to see, including weavers in Kilbarchan (1:16), farmers harvesting with oxen in Cirencester (0:52), Glamorgan coal-miners (0:46), and more. posted by Catseye (7 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
Very rare and wonderful footage. TY.
posted by rmmcclay at 5:29 AM on June 17, 2013

Great post, Catseye, thanks. The clip of haymaking in Cirencester was fascinating. I remember going to see the BL's great exhibition on nineteenth century photography a couple of years ago, and being reminded of the fact that agricultural techniques of only ninety to a hundred years ago were far closer to those of the medieval period than they are to today's patterns of land-use, despite our superficial chronological closeness (a point that Flora Thompson makes with far more grace and sophistication than I ever could).
posted by hydatius at 5:29 AM on June 17, 2013

And to think, the kids are now someone's surly, drunken Granparents. You'd never have predicted that from the films.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:52 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Claude's own descendent, incidentally, is Tim Friese-Greene, musician, producer, and member of the band Talk Talk.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:14 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Cirencester haymaking is on the Bathurst estate. In some ways, things havent' changed. The Bathurst estate is still there, still owned by the Earl of Bathurst and enormous. All that dark green fanning out to the west from Cirencester, all of it, is all within the Bathurst estate.
posted by vacapinta at 7:19 AM on June 17, 2013

The "climbers in Cumbria" one really hit me. Having grown up reading (and rereading) Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons books there's something slightly unreal about seeing that landscape filmed in color from almost exactly the right period.
posted by yoink at 8:51 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

And to think, the kids are now someone's surly, drunken Granparents.

Evil, evil redheads!

And so coy.

Other than the whitewash John O'Groats hotel hasn't changed a bit.

Why, here's one featuring the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Stirling Castle, famed for their large sporrans.…

Honestly, that's the caption. The innuendo is all yours.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:48 AM on June 17, 2013

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