Look at (Vintage London) Life
December 29, 2010 6:41 PM   Subscribe

IN Gear, swinging London of 1960s and SOHO bohemian Coffee Bars of London, 1959. These are a few of the 500+ vintage documentary shorts called "Look at Life" that ran at the Odeon and Gaumont cinemas during the 50s and 60s. (via Dangerous Minds)

Market Place - 1950s - from "old school" London markets to the introduction of the supermarket.

Scooter Commuter, 1962 - a gathering at London's Crystal Palace for a mass scooter rally featuring a grand parade of all the scooters. Also a brief history of the scooter, including a small WWII version that was used by paratroopers; and a look at scooter manufacture and proving grounds.

Fire over London, 1966 - The centenary of the London Fire Brigade, and the London Salvage Corps, their history, and a "modern" look at operations.

Members Only, 1965 - A look at the "private clubs" of London. From the famous political clubs of the 18th century to the gambling clubs and the bohemian night clubs of the West End.

Eating High, 1966 - a look at the 60's European trend of top-of-skyscraper revolving restaurants, including a close look at the challenges of running the restaurant at the top of London's Post Office Tower.

Down London River, 1959 - vintage footage of Parliament, Big Ben, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul's Cathedral, Port of London, Cleopatra's Needle and more.

Goodbye, Piccadilly. 1967 - A pre-modernization look at both the above- and the under- ground Piccadilly Circus.
posted by madamjujujive (15 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
These are great! Takes me back ... (But I sure don't remember it being so 'colourful' there ...)
posted by woodblock100 at 7:41 PM on December 29, 2010

Sweet... the Scooter video is wonderful.. I had a Vespa back in the 60's, good times!
posted by HuronBob at 7:55 PM on December 29, 2010

"And for those who still thrill to the sight of purple lace-up boots... here are purple lace-up boots!"

That was hilarious.
posted by axiom at 8:00 PM on December 29, 2010

I am not ashamed to say that I actually squeed like a fangirl catching sight of Justin Beiber at the mall when I saw this. My evening is set!
posted by jokeefe at 8:05 PM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:16 PM on December 29, 2010

Yes, the scooter video is amazing (although the idea of a dual control learner's scooter makes me nervous at fifty years' distance).
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:25 PM on December 29, 2010

Boa-bedecked hoydens!
posted by jokeefe at 8:35 PM on December 29, 2010

The multi-coloured minidress at about 5:59 to 6:06, and the silver one at about 8:10 of the main link, are both to absolutely die for. The silver one might actually be my platonic ideal of a dress, if my second grade drawings are anything to go by.
posted by jokeefe at 8:43 PM on December 29, 2010

The past is the ultimate amusement park and we're not allowed inside.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 9:00 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yes - a dual control learner's scooter with no helmets in sight. Good times. Loved the rally footage.
posted by jetsetsc at 9:49 PM on December 29, 2010

The London Nobody Knows. With James Mason. 50 minutes of quirkiness and pasty-faced Brits.
posted by marvin at 9:53 PM on December 29, 2010

Oh I love this kind of thing. Thank you. Does anyone know about something like this for the 1950s? I want an alternative to the Grease narrative.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 11:48 PM on December 29, 2010

Maybe should RTFpost, there are some 50s things there.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 12:05 AM on December 30, 2010

This is great! Thanks madamjujujive!
posted by vacapinta at 1:18 AM on December 30, 2010

These are wonderful! It's like everything you wanted to see in the background of the Up series.

I'm happy to report that the National Liberal Club has not been torn down, as the narrator suggested it might be.
posted by apricot at 10:04 AM on December 30, 2010

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