Tuesday, May 13, 2014

British Pathé Uploads 85,000 Historic Film Footage to YouTube

Yes, you read that right, recently 85,000 videos from British Pathé’s collection of historic film footage has been uploaded to their YouTube account. British Pathé, known for its historic newsreels had digitized its collection back in 2002 and, earlier this month, has made its entire collection freely available for viewing on its four YouTube channels.

Regarding the decision to release the footage, Alastair White, General Manager of British Pathé explains “Our hope is that everyone, everywhere who has a computer will see these films and enjoy them,” and “this archive is a treasure trove unrivalled in historical and cultural significance that should never be forgotten. Uploading the films to YouTube seemed like the best way to make sure of that.”

The footage covers the years 1896 to 1976 and includes thousands of hours of footage depicting major and historical events, political figures, celebrities,fashion, sports, and everyday life. The collection is predominantly British, but does include coverage from American history and politics. The videos are organized over four different channels: British Pathé, VintageFashions, Sporting History, and War Archives which features extensive coverage of World War I and World War II.

The collection is quite large, so using the search function to find videos of interest is helpful. For example, a search for the term “trial” brought up clips of several famous trials throughout history such as this one of the Nuremberg Trials Verdicts:

Or the verdict in the Jack Ruby trial:


You can spend hours getting lost in this treasure trove of film which can be funny, interesting, unusual, and tragic.  Whether you are looking for famous speeches of political figures, sobering images of war, historic sports victories (and losses), celebrity weddings of the past, daredevil stunts, or the just plain weird, you’ll find it here. Check out a few samples below, then head over to their YouTube channels and start exploring!


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