Film ID:
YFA 5793



Visitor Tabs


Made by Eric Hall, this is a short film taken in 1951, the year of the Festival of Britain, which visits some of the exhibitions and celebrations around the capital city.  Intertitles are used throughout the film to identify the places visited.  

Title – A Hallmark Production
Title – London Panorama
Title – Photographed and edited by J Eric Hall
Title – In and around London during festival year

Title – 1951

Traffic is seen going past the statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus.

Title – Trafalgar Square

Nelson’s column and one of the stone lions in the fountains at Trafalgar Square are shown, followed by multitudes of pigeons landing on the arms and shoulders of two women. Another woman holds out her hand to feed one of the birds. People cross the busy streets nearby.

Title – Buckingham Palace

Outside the gates to the palace, guards in bearskin hats are on parade. Policemen stand in front of the entrance and the changing of the guard occurs.

Title – Leaving the palace after an investiture

Two men in military uniform leave on foot through the main gates and one walks with a woman towards the road.

Title – HRH the Duchess of Kent

Katharine, Duchess of Kent, gets out of a car and enters a building, while young women mill around outside. A parade of Life Guards with horsehair plumes on their helmets marches up an avenue, possibly Pall Mall. Guards in long black coats carry swords as they march around.

A sign is seen for Downing St and on the famous road a policeman stands outside number 10.

Title – Tower of London

Beefeaters in traditional uniform stand in the grounds of the tower, with a raven seen on the ground.

Title – The house in which Rudolf Hess was imprisoned

A raven hops about in the foreground, in front of a half-timbered house. A sign on the Tower Green reads “On this site stood a scaffold on which the following were executed”, followed by a list of names including Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey. Tower Bridge is seen from across the River Thames.

Title – Petticoat Lane

The street market known as Petticoat Lane in the East End of the city is bustling with vendors and customers browsing their wares.

Title – Festival of Britain exhibition on the South Bank of the Thames

The low arches of Waterloo Bridge span the Thames, with the round shot tower of the Lambeth Lead Works visible on the South Bank. Visitors stroll around the plaza outside the newly built Royal Festival Hall, looking at sculptures and other exhibits. A row of stands offer displays of different sporting equipment, including cricket, rugby and lawn tennis. Various motorbikes are also on display. 

Title – John Cobb’s World Record Car

The car known as the Railton Special, a space-age silver design in which John Cobb broke the land speed record in 1938, is on display inside the pavilion. The large hall also has light aircraft hanging from the ceiling. Outside, a young man, probably the filmmaker’s son, holds up a small box containing a coin, presumably one of the commemorative five-shilling pieces minted for the Festival. 

Title – Festival fun fair and pleasure gardens at Battersea

Crowds of people mill around a fun fair, relax in deck chairs near a gentle fountain and take small motor boats out on a lake. Others ride a rollercoaster called the Boomerang and slide down a Helter-Skelter. There is also a Ferris wheel, big dipper and an aeroplane ride.

A sign for the Botanic Gardens at Kew is shown. The large glass palm house is seen from across a lawn. Carved stone planters and flowerbeds are filled with vibrant flowers in full bloom. A bell tower can be seen behind a pond with a fountain in its centre.

Title – A quiet reach of the Thames near Windsor

On a peaceful stretch of water, the occasional sailing boat passes by.

Title – Windsor Castle

A long driveway across a park leads up to the castle. Nearer to the building, flags can be seen flying outside and people stroll around. The castle is seen from across a lawn and from inside a courtyard.

Title – The Lion and the Unicorn at St George’s Chapel

A flight of stone steps with a statue of a lion on one side and a unicorn on the other is seen, while guards wearing bearskin hats cross a lawn. A small bridge spans the River Thames, on which people can be seen in rowing boats. The film ends with another view of Windsor Castle.

Title – The End