Vintage Film & Old Photos Of Bath

City of Bath In Somerset

Bath is a World Heritage Site famous for its hot springs, Roman baths, medieval heritage and stately Georgian streets. No wonder the photographers and filmmakers have been active here for more than a century, leaving a wonderful archive of the city’s history.

“old bath”

This fantastic video of old photos of Bath lasts an astonishing 22 minutes! It ranges from black and white photographs of Victorian and Edwardian streets, past streets full of bomb debris during the Second World War, to modern photos set against the same location before development. 

YouTube channel steve player

“Viscount French at Bath (1916)”

In 1916, a new wing was added to the Royal Baths. There to lead the opening ceremony was Field Marshal John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres. He arrives in military uniform, greeted by Mayor Charles Henry Long, and other local dignitaries. 

Posted to YouTube by British Pathé

When he comes outside, Viscount French inspects troops. Behind them, a curious crowd watch.

As Viscount French travels to the next location in a car, we see the 1917 news photographers in action!

The waiting crowd in the third location appear nice and clear.

Then we see a group of wounded soldiers meeting the famous field marshall. Today, his womanising, loans from General Haig, leak of confidential information about shell shortages in an attempt to remove Kitchener from office, and difficult relationship with other military leaders during the Great War make interesting reading.

Duke of Connaught inspects troops at Bath (1917)”

The appearance of bicycles in the procession, with musicians playing at the side, seems almost comical. However, the country was in the middle of the worst conflict since the English Civil War.

Posted to YouTube by British Pathé

This Gaumont Graphic Newsreel from 1917 shows an inspection of The Somerset County Volunteer Regiment by

  • Major-General Thomas Charles Pleydell Calley CB CBE MVO (28 January 1856 – 14 February)
  • Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (Arthur William Patrick Albert; 1 May 1850 – 16 January 1942), the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Dominion Press Visit Roman Baths (1914-1918)

The opening scene shows a group of journalists visiting the famous baths. Next, they visit Dominion soldiers, including a Canadian officer and recuperating Australian soldiers. Given this is some sort of rest home or hospital, it’s curious to see only one nurse present.

Posted to YouTube by British Pathé

Bath, Somerset (1924)

A very quick clip of a 1920s film, digitally restored with gentle colouring. We see visitors in their highly fashionable 1920s outfits inspecting the fish in the ancient Roman Baths.

YouTube channel BFI

Prince of Wales at Bath (1926)

In 1926, the Prince of Wales visited the Wesleyan School at Kingswood. He briefly became King Edward VIII in 1936.

Posted to YouTube by British Pathé

Here at the famous school created in 1748 by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, the Prince of Wales was accompanied by a large group of men and a few women at the back. Then lots of boys file into the gardens, under the supervision of what appears to be school prefects.

The Mayor, Cedric Chivers, also appears at the end. He died not long after, on 30 January 1929.

Princess And Margaret At “Venice-On-Avon” (1962)

In 1962, Bath was nicely decorated for the festival. Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon visited Bath Abbey for a concert, where they were met by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt. Reverend E.B. Henderson. Crowds of people turned out to see the royal visitors.

Posted to YouTube by British Pathé

Among all the lovely early 60s fashion on display, there are a few comedy moments too. The policeman looks somewhat harassed as he holds back the press of middle aged ladies, and a toddler wanders out into the road cleared for the royal car.

Then there’s a lovely shot of the River Carnival, which the narrator says turned Bath into Venice-On-Avon. The tickets were apparently 4 guineas, and attendees were expected to wear a Ventian cloak and mask. Princess Margaret seemed to thoroughly enjoy the event, and wore a beautiful gown for the occasion.

“Bath, Somerset in 1965 (original on Super 8 film reel)”

A lovely home movie of the city in 1965, with very good quality footage. Includes views of 58 Hungerford Road, 3 Wellington Place and 19 Camden Place, the Assembly Rooms, and Bath Cathedral. Despite the good weather, the streets seem very quiet.

Posted to YouTube by Genealogy ie

Freshers Week 1988 – University of Bath

This 1988 footage shows hundreds of locals and tourists walking through busy streets. At the railway station, students arrive with their suitcases. It was, of course, the days before wheeled bags were invented! Several interviews with students are followed by the antics of Freshers Week.

YouTube channel CampusTV

The City of Bath | Somerset | 1990

Several city locations appear in this short clip of the city in 1990. 

YouTube channel ThamesTv

More locations in Somerset

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