Burton On Trent History In Old Photos And Film

Burton upon Trent local history old photos & film

Burton upon Trent, a market town in East Staffordshire, is also known as Burton on Trent, Burton-on-Trent, or even simply as Burton. It’s now home to the National Brewery Centre, building on its fame as a brewery town.

Burton On Trent In The 1930s

George Cummings Walks 135 Miles (1930)

“Veteran 66-year-old George Cummings averages five miles an hour in the 135-mile walk from London … on beer!!”

Published to YouTube on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé.

This newsreel starts in London, by one of the statues of lions in Trafalgar Square. A small crowd is there to see speed walker George Cummings start his 135 mile walk.

Then the footage moves to the end of the long journey. Crowds watch as a car leads George through the streets of Burton. He’s greeted by the Mayor of Burton, before enjoying a long drink of the glass of local beer handed to him

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Local History Videos Through The Ages

Burton upon Trent History Video

This is a local video about the town. Includes information about the war, bridges, waterways, the local breweries, trades, schools, and public houses.

Note: the volume is quiet so you’ll need to adjust your device to hear the narrative.

Published to YouTube on 2 Nov 2013 by DCVL Auto Diagnostics.

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Wurlitzer Organ Town Hall

Pictures and music of the Burton Wurlitzer organ are accompanied by written detail about the instrument’s journey from the USA to the UK. There’s also information about some of the musicians who have used it during the years.

Published on 28 Jul 2009 by ReginaldDixonMBE.

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Burton In The 1940s

Parade of North Staffordshire Regiment & Staffordshire Yeomanry (1946)

Published on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé. Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire.  

We see an elevated shot of the parade in the Town Hall square. There the North Staffordshire regiment and the Staffordshire Yeomanry stand to attention. 

The mayor presents the Freedom of the Borough to the high ranking officer. A war veteran watches the parade. 

Then there’s a high angle shot of the parade as it marches through the town square.

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Staffordshire Regt Freedom Of Burton-On-Trent (1946)

Published on 13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé.

In this archive footage, the North Staffordshire Regiment and the Staffordshire Yeomanry receive the freedom of Burton-on-Trent.

We see Councillor W. P. Wibberley present something to an army officer as they stand on a dais.  

Next we see soldiers, showing the North Staffordshire badge and hat. 

Then ex-servicemen and soldiers march through the streets, which are lined with crowds of people.

 Finally, troops line up in front of the dais.  

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Burton upon Trent In The 1970s

BBC Songs of Praise (1978)

This episode of Songs of Praise was found on an old VHS tape. It was filmed at St. Chad’s Church in 1978. 

First you’ll see about 40 seconds of another programme. Then the episode of Songs of Praise starts.

Published to YouTube by Ian Webster. 

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Burton In The 1980s

Streetlife (1986)

Published to YouTube by burt fest.

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A Look Back At The Town & Its Residents (1980s)

The 1980s. The era of big hair, shoulder pads and neon clothes. If you’re feeling nostalgic, take a trip down memory lane with this video set to an old skool rave anthem!

Published to YouTube on 8 Jul 2014 by Andrew Green. 

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Central Park Bridge Brewery (1987?)

Published to YouTube on 4 May 2012 by SP00NY

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BBC2 Documentary About Tim Bedford (1980s/90s)

This is from a BBC 2 programme broadcast in the late 1980s or the early 1990s. It focuses on the life and inventions of engineer Tim Bedford.

Published to YouTube on 12 Mar 2013 by Ted England.

Tim Bedford first worked as an engineer at Rolls-Royce in Derby. After completing his apprenticeship, he gained a degree in engineering. He worked on many major projects, especially those developing fuel systems.

The Jet Ski

After moving to Burton in the early 60s, he started work on the invention of a small watercraft. It was to be powered by an inboard engine and a propellor. And thus the first jet ski was invented.

The River Trent was an ideal place for his prototype experiments. Thus the Surf Blazer reached manufacturing stage, so he set up his own company to do this. Dynamic Developments Ltd was based in Horninglow Street.

The Ministry of Defence ordered a secrecy order on the completed invention for several months. His wife, Olive Bedford, remembers how this caused great financial uncertainty for the family, given the money invested in the Surf Blazer’s development.

The BBC featured his invention on Tomorrow’s World in 1970.

Then it was used for an episode of Dr. Who! The Cybermen rode them for the cameras on River Avon in Bristol.

Now the financial backers wanted new premises, proposing a move to Ipswich. Tim Bedford, being an engineer rather than aiming to run a big business, decided it was time to sell his patent rights and move on to the next invention.

Replacing Fossil Fuels

Tim Bedford’s next project showed an astonishing level of foresight. He wanted to replace the fossil fuels used to power vehicles, recognising that they were a finite resource.

So he examined ways to run vehicles on methane and liquid petroleum gas (LCP). The conversion kit was simple in design.

He set up a company called Blue Chip, to sell the patents. It was initially difficult, because the UK Government restricted the use of engines using anything other than tax-generating petrol and diesel.

The 1970s oil crisis, however, meant that international buyers were interested in his patent. He even met dozens of political and scientific leaders during this period.

A Family Man

Tim Bedford and his wife Olive had five children, and later four grandchildren.

She remembers him fondly as “a flamboyant figure around Stapenhill”. While he didn’t make money from his inventions, he made a difference to the world. As she says:

 The sad end to this story is that at this moment in time, Tim died a poor man, but without a shadow of a doubt he was a very successful man. Worldwide patents are held by his company on his most exciting breakthrough — perfecting the running of diesel engines on LPG.” 

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Burton-On-Trent In The 1990s

Burton On Trent Buses (1990)

Published to YouTube by DaveSpencer32.

An extract of a DVD showing local buses in operation in July 1990.

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Burton On Trent Buses (1994)

Published to YouTube by DaveSpencer32.

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Burton On Trent Buses (1998)

Published to YouTube by DaveSpencer32.

This video is a clip of a DVD which is available for sale.

More Staffordshire pages

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Thanks to Peter Lomas from Pixabay for the use of the featured image at the top of this page.