Film ID:
YFA 2781



Visitor Tabs


This E.F. Symmons film documents the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Kingston-upon- Hull in August 1941.  All in black and white, it contains some superb footage of the damage to Hull’s buildings caused by the Luftwaffe, many close-up shots of the visiting Royals, and depicts the amazing resilience of the people of Hull even in the face of the destruction of their homes and communities. 

Inter-title: ‘Their Gracious Majesties The King and Queen visit Kingston-upon- Hull. August 1941.’

Inter-title (screen two): ‘KINGSTON, meaning KING’S TOWN, UPON HULL is a Loyal City and never has there been such a spontaneous outburst of Loyalty, Love and Welcome as on this present occasion when our gentle King and Queen pay a private visit to England’s Third Largest Port.’ 

The opening footage is of the King and Queen (the King in military uniform; the Queen formally dressed) standing at the entrance to a public building with the Mayor of Kingston-upon-Hull and other local officials, looking outwards and talking. 

The Queen is inside the back of a car, looking out of the window and waving as she is driven away.  A longer-distance shot shows a crowd waving Union Jacks and standing by the roadside in front of a badly bombed building. 

Footage is taken from a moving vehicle of piles of rubble, twisted metal and shells of buildings.  Footage of the roadside crowds as the Royals would have seen them as they passed.  There are more bomb-damaged houses, and striking is the number of people who have turned out to watch the King and Queen pass.   

Inter-title: ‘Their Majesties, accompanied by the Lord Mayor, Coun. Sydney H. Smith, and the Sheriff, Robert G. Tarran… with the Civil Defence Workers and Citizens of Hull.’ 

The citizens are lined up, and the dignitaries walk along the line taking time to chat and shake hands.  More panoramic shots of large warehouse-style buildings badly damaged.   

Inter-title: ‘Amidst the damage caused by the Hun the cheerful spirit and wonderful morale of the people win the admiration of the Royal Visitors.’ 

The King and Queen again speak to various men in front of large crowds.  There are close-up shots of mountains of rubble; protruding wood and metal. Longer-distance ground-level footage of the King and Queen picking their way across the rubble in front of some bomb-damaged houses or shops.  The King, Queen, Mayor and Sheriff approach lines of men with helmets, again watched by a crowd. 

Inter-title: ‘Surrounded by the affection of their People THEY NEED NO BODYGUARD.’ 

The Queen, pearls around her neck and handbag under her arm, speaks to uniformed and helmeted men.  She holds her finger out to a baby and tickles it.  There is more longer-distance footage of the King and Queen speaking to more men. 

The next scenes are shot from a higher vantage point and show the Royals and the other officials approaching the rubble in front of the large warehouse-style building seen earlier.  A crowd of onlookers, at least ten deep, watches.  The camera pans upwards and focuses on the badly damaged building. 

The Royals are then seen on the pavement outside the bomb-damaged Dyson’s wedding and engagement ring shop, speaking to a man in military dress.  The King salutes to a crowd of locals across a pile of rubble.   

The next series of footage is again taken from a moving vehicle in the Royals’ convoy.  Crowds line the streets; some wave large Union Jacks; children wave smaller flags.  Trams can be seen in the background.  The buildings are less damaged in this area of town. 

The King and Queen speak to another line of people, including some elderly women.  The press stand by with cameras poised.  There is some close-up footage of the King and Queen.  A line of nurses wave (as the King and Queen arrive at a hospital?).  Most likely inside a hospital, the Queen leans over a bed and speaks to a patient.  The patient’s crutches lean against the wall. 

Outdoors again, footage is taken from a slow-moving vehicle and shows a street busy with cyclists, cars, lorries and pedestrians.  A banner can be seen which reads, ‘Do slow down.  We do want to see our King & Queen’.   

The King, Queen and Mayor meet and speak to more people, who seem to be uniformed volunteers (St John’s Ambulance? – an armband with the Crown and some writing is worn by one man close to the camera).  The Queen seems to take the lead in chatting to the people in most scenes. 

Inter-title: ‘A workman shouts “Tell Winston that we are still smiling”’. 

A brief shot of a crowd perched on the wall of a damaged building, waving to the camera.  The King and Queen get back into their car and wave to a line of men wearing white helmets with a black ‘W’ stamped on the front. 

There is a close-up in the next scene of a sign: ‘Menu for To-Day: soup, pie & vegetables, milk pudding, college pudding, cold meat & salad’.  The King, Queen and others are then seen walking under the sign, out of a building and in to the sunshine.  The next shot is of the outside of The Prospect Cafeteria (‘The PROSPECT is GOOD.’). 

Inter-title: ‘NO MILITARY OBJECTIVE.  Homes of the People, Business premises, Hospitals, Churches and Theatres are the targets of the Luftwaffe.’ 

A large church is filmed from the opposite side of the road.  Its structure, from this angle, looks relatively undamaged.  The next footage is taken from the inside, or from the opposite angle, and the bomb-damage can be observed.  Most of the roof is missing, and rubble is strewn across the floor.  Pillars and windows have also been damaged. 

There are panoramic shots of bomb-damaged terraced houses.  A tram with ‘Hull’ written on the side passes in front of the camera.  More footage of bomb damage – buildings are just heaps of twisted metal and rubble.  Cars and pedestrians pass in front of the camera. 

Inter-title: ‘The Oldest Church in Kingston.  The once Beautiful Church of St. Peter’s, Old Drypool.’ 

A long outdoor view of an old woman in a shawl walking slowly away from the camera down a churchyard path towards the church.  Inside, the woman with her back to the camera, stands in the middle of the badly damaged church.  This is followed by a close-up of her face and body.  There is also footage of the clock tower of the church from the outside.  Back indoors, the woman stands in the middle of the rubble of the roof and walls. 

Inter-title: ‘Her home destroyed by the Luftwaffe…Grannie…82 years old, in the Church in which she was married…looks with sorrow at the remains of the font where her children and grandchildren were baptised.’ 

A close-up of the old woman inside the church shows her looking contemplative.  Assorted close-ups of the rubble and twisted metal on the floor of the church, and of Grannie, wearing a black shawl over her head is followed by outdoor footage of the church, missing its roof, taken from the overgrown graveyard. 

The scene switches to lines of men and women wearing overalls, waving Union Jacks and standing next to a sign which reads, ‘Thank You For Coming.  Goodbye and God Bless Your Majesties.’  Finally there are other shots of crowds waving handkerchiefs and the King and Queen being driven off in their car. 

Inter-title: ‘The End.  Filmed by E.F. Symmons, Debenham & Co., Beverley, East Yorks, England.’