Old Images of Harlow, Essex

Old photo postcard of High Street Harlow Essex

Glimpse history through old images of Harlow, Essex, England.

Change in Harlow 1951

By the time this newsreel was created, 400 new homes had been completed in Harlow, including a 10 storey block of flats. It was all part of the plan to build 2,000 new homes in the town. The new town centre was due to be finished the following Spring.

They have filmed some of the modern development, along with some nice shots of the old town centre. On agricultural land destined for the bulldozers, farmers gather in the crops with a horse and cart, a line of new homes behind them.

London’s First Factory Town (1951) – British Pathé on YouTube

Regal Cinema 1951

When Harlow’s new Regal Cinema opened in 1951, it was the first cinema to open since World War II.

Hundreds of people queued in the rain on opening night, to see guest film stars Diane Hart and Guy Middleton.

Local M.P. Gilbert Finlay and Basil Fortescue greeted the famous film stars, and the cinema manager’s wife, Mrs Blaber, presented a bouquest to Diane Hart.

Harlow – Regal Opens Aka Harlow Special – Opening Of Regal Cinema (1952) – British Pathé on YouTube

Royal Visit 1957

In 1957, Queen Elizabeth II received a bouquet of flowers from 5-year-old Sarah Anderson, as the royal tour of Harlow began.

At the time, children aged 5 and under made up 1/5th of Harlow’s population.

Architect Mr Frederick Gibberd, Mr & Mrs Thomas Round? who lived in a 6 roomed house at Little Parndon, and Mr and Mrs Patrick Smith who lived at The Willows in Little Parndon, were amongst the people meeting the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh that day.

The electric trolley tour round the metal factory looked great fun compared to the normal walk around, but the Queen doesn’t look too enthralled with it.

Harlow – Royal Visit (1957) – British Pathé on YouTube

Harlow New Town 1968

Five minutes of silent footage opens with Harlow’s new shopping centre from above. Lots of people walk about the pedestrianised area.

Later on the footage moves to another new town, at Milton Keynes.

Harlow & Milton Keynes (1968) – British Pathé on YouTube

1970s Harlow

Broadcast on 2nd Febriuary 1975, Monty Modlyn asked local residents what they thought about life in the new town.

Interesting to hear the presenter describe how the first residents mainly arrived from ‘overcrowded’ London, one of the old cities where ‘whole quarters had become unfit to live in’. And a woman who moved there from Croyden years before described herself as a ‘pioneer’.

1970s Harlow | What do the locals think of Harlow | Harlow | Essex | A town called…| 1975 – ThamesTv on YouTube

Historic Books

Extract from: Leigh’s New Pocket Road-book of England and Wales
Containing a Description of Every Principal Town and Remarkable Place ; to which are Added Pleasure Tours to the Most Picturesque Parts of the Country

by Samuel Leigh

Published in 1840

Page 115

HARLOW ( Essex ) , noted for its fair , called Harlow
Bush Fair , held on the 9th of September . Par . Pop . 2101 .
Inn ; Green Man .

Extract from: Handbook for England and Wales, Alphabetically Arranged for the Use of Travellers, published by John Murray

Published in 1890

Page 191

Harlow ( Essex ) , Stat . ( m .
distant ) Gt . E. Rly . , Cambridge line .

Inns : George ; Green man ; Railway H.

An old market – town .

The old Parish
Ch . was rebuilt 1709 , and restored 1876 .
Some brasses from the older fabric are
preserved in it . The font bears an in
scription which may be read from either
end .

The old manor – house of Harlow
Bury , 1 m . from the Ch . , was a seat of
the Abbots of St. Edmundsbury .

barn near it was the chapel , and con
tains some ancient portions .

Hall is the fine seat of R. W. Ethel
ston , Esq .

2 m . N.E. is Down Hall ( Rt . Hon .
Sir Henry Selwin – Ibbetson , Bart . ) , a
large modern house in a pretty park ,
chiefly remarkable as the site of the
house belonging to the poet and dip
lomatist Matthew Prior . A rudely
framed arm – chair , the favourite seat of
Prior , said to have belonged to an
abbot of Sacombe , is preserved in the
hall .

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