British Pathé

Good evening

Today I am doing a quick post on one of my favorite websites for old footage of railway locomotives when doing research. British Pathé was a pioneering company when it came to recording history on newsreels. The newsreels were shown in the cinema and were silent until 1928. At first they ran for about four minutes, and were issued biweekly. Even though during the early days the camera shots were taken from a stationary position, the Pathé newsreels captured events such as Franz Reichelt’s fatal parachute jump from the Eiffel Tower, and suffragette Emily Davison’s fatal injury by a racehorse at the 1913 Epsom Derby.
With the railways being a key part of the British way of life at the time they featured in hundreds of newsreels and provides a real insight into what the railways looked like in the days of the Big Four. One of my favourites pieces of footage is something rather rare in the form a streamlined GWR King class on the mainline!

Heres a couple of the best videos I have found on the British Pathé website.

LNER’s Hush Hush at Kings Cross for the first time

LNER transport the stern tost for S.S. Olympic (One of Titanics sister ships)

No.1 Stirling’s final trip

The King visits Swindon in 1924 and drives a Castle class

The Royal Scot is loaded onto a boat to Canada

Entitled locomotives of the Southern Railway

British Railways locomotives on the mainline

The A4 retires to Canada


There is a lot of stuff on the British Pathe website and provides a great research tool to back up readings from books. Plus there is lots of footage from the both World Wars and news including the sinking of the Titanic. They have also been uploading videos onto YouTube which can be found here.

I have spent hours looking at various footage on the website/YouTube channel and its a highly recommended research tool.


Thanks for reading