After last week’s post about how quiet the river is at the moment, long time contributor Trevor Wayman bought to my attention a BFI film “Colour on the Thames (1935)” on YouTube.
What is remarkable about the film is that it is in colour, colour film was still a novelty for audiences in 1935, and the filming was done using a new Gasparcolor system.
The film begins in the west near Richmond with a family on the riverside before showing a few local boats.
One of the more remarkable aspects of the film is that it shows cranes moving along the newly constructed Waterloo Bridge which was not completed till the 1940s.
The Pool of London shows how busy the river was on the city side of London Bridge, boats and ships of all size jostle for position on the river.
The riverside is notable for the many cranes and warehouses, lots of produce found its way to the warehouse dotted along the river.
On the other side of Tower Bridge, we see a distinctive Thames barge plying its trade on the river.
The Dockland section is little bit more confusing because it is difficult to pinpoint the locations.
What you can see is that large ships were unloading and loading cargoes and the many lighters and tugs in the water.
Some of the final scenes show the boats and ships making their way along the stretch of Thames down to estuary.
What is noticeable is the amount of people working along the river, many people who worked on the river remark how dangerous it could be and fatal accidents were not that rare.
One thing we probably do not miss is the pollution associated with coal and oil burning, in the 1950s, this became a major problem with smog causing health problems.
When watching the film it is worth remembering that many of the ships featured were to come to a sad end in the Second World War, one of the ships in the film, the Dartford, was torpedoed off Cape Race with loss of 30 out 47 crew.
If you would like watch the film follow the link here
Many thanks to Trevor for the information.