Glimpse history through old images of Kingston upon Thames, London.
Historically in the county of Surrey, since 1965 Kingston upon Thames has been part of Greater London. The town’s well known historic attraction is the Saxon stone, believed to have been the site of the coronation of seven Anglo-Saxon kings.
In 1928, a timber yard, hotel, and barges, were all destroyed by fire, and a 100 year old bridge was badly damaged.
The blaze lasted a day and a half, despite being on the banks of the River Thames.
UK: DISASTERS: Fire scenes at Kingston (1928)- British Pathé on YouTube
Some of the service men of the 6th East Surrey Regiment received training in boxing. Given the introduction title, the instructor is Alf Mancini.
Massed Boxing (1931) – British Pathé on YouTube
Ferry Woman 1936
In 1936, Violet Pope was the only woman ferryman on the Thames.
She got started during the First World War, when men were called up for active service, then took a break after the war to raise her children, and later returned to the wooden boats.
Her customers seem to be women and children, ferried between the Surrey and the Middlesex sides of the river.
Women Ferry On Thames (1936) – British Pathé on YouTube
Saxon Stone 1937
Although this footage from 1937 focuses on the stone, there are some nice shots of the Olde Post House and other nearby buildings.
Coronation Stone (1937)- British Pathé on YouTube
Customer Service Training 1948
Bentall’s Store in Kingston understood the value of good customer service to the ‘busy housewife’, although the training (a speech) was perhaps a bit different to how it would be done today. The role playing exercise in bad customer service will be familiar to many who have been on these courses over the years.
Bentall’s Store (1947) – British Pathé on YouTube
Power Station 1948
Kingston’s power station opened in 1948, on the same day the country experienced its first nationwide electricity cut.
It was the first of 17 new power stations opened by the newly nationalised industry, and was opened by King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth (the parents of Queen Elizabeth II). The speech given by the King includes several careful pauses, which we know from the film The King’s Speech was a technique to overcome his stutter.
The plant £6.5 million to build, a fortune for the time, and took 3 years to build.
The King Opens Power Station (1948)- British Pathé on YouTube
Saxon Stone 1951
Silent footage from 1951 captures images of the Saxon Stone, a policeman, and some of the nearby buildings.
Selected Originals – Saxon Stone At Kingston (1951) – British Pathé on YouTube
Pedal Cars and Bikes 1952
In 1952, cameras filmed children using the 500 metres of scaled down roads created by a man from the Netherlands, who wanted to teach children about road safety in a fun way.
Kingston Garden (1952) – British Pathé on YouTube
Boys’ Club 1952
This newsreel item about the opening of the new boys’ club building includes shots of a lot of local children and families, as well as some of the surrounding buildings.
Billy Butlin, chief barker of the Variety Club, Mike J Frankovitch and his wife, the Mayor and Mayoress of Kingston, Councillor MJ Guymer, JP, the Right Reverend WP Gilpin, Bishop of Kingston, comic actor Richard Hearne (Mr Pastry), Mr and Mrs CJ Latta, Mr DJ Goodlatte (of Associated British Picture Corporation) and Colonel James Carreras and about 200 other middle aged people sat and listened to speeches, as the young lads stood at the back looking bored.
The Variety Club donated £5,250 towards the cost of this project, enough to buy a very nice family home at the time. The Kingston Round Table donated a further £2,400. It allowed the club to move out of St Peter’s School into their own premises.
There was a boxing ring at one side of the new building.
Boys’ Club Opened Special (1959) – British Pathé on YouTube
In the 1970s, the National Union of Public Employees took to the streets in a small demonstration, probably during a strike.
Public Employees Demo – Kingston (1970-1979) – British Pathé on YouTube
Around Town 1976
In 1976, Thames TV took footage in and around Kingston upon Thames, including views across the rooftops, various streets, and the market. Lots of people and cars.
Kingston | Kingston upon Thames | A Town called…| 1976 – ThamesTv on YouTube
A brilliant home video made in 1991 captures people going about their daily lives.
Many nice clear shots of people, and many cars too, as well as the businesses and streets of the time. Burger King, Beatties, LaserQuest, C&A, Eden Walk, the old bus garage, Xelectrical, pedestrians negotiating their way round narrow pavements and a queue of cars on Clarence Street, Woolies, people queuing to get into some of the shops, blue Mercury phone boxes, and the market.
Kingston Upon Thames – December 1991 – moozeek on YouTube
The Market Through Time
Enjoy seeing how the market square has changed over time, thanks to the use of old photos and pictures, with some canny use of modern technology.
Kingston-Upon-Thames Market: A Journey Through Time! – The Time Travel Artist on YouTube