Glimpse history through old images of Oakham, Rutland, England.
Oakham is the largest settlement in Rutland, England’s smallest county. It’s packed full of historic buildings and has long caught the interest of filmmakers.
WW1 Agricultural Workers
Women have always worked in the countryside, but during the Great War they took on new roles and were present in greater numbers than usual. Shipping supplies were badly affected and revealed how reliant Britain was on imported foods, making home production a national issue.
This British Pathé film captures wartime female agricultural workers doing a variety of tasks in front of an audience. It appears to be a competition. Furthermore, they battle on in full length skirts and with coverings over their long hair.
“British Women’s Legion – Splendid Work At Oakham By Our New Food Providers (1914-1918)” – British Pathé on YouTube
Oakham in WW2
This British Pathé film clip from 1944 lasts just one minute and 32 seconds, but manages to visit both of Rutland’s towns.
At the time of filming, Oakham looks more like quiet village of thatched cottages than a town. Everything shown is old and beautiful. Footage includes regency houses, the market square with stocks, All Saints church, and the banqueting hall which is the last surviving building from Oakham Castle. Two cars, one driving along and the other one parked, are the only motor traffic present in the town’s quiet streets.
“Oakham & Uppingham Issue Title Is Help Yourself (1944)” – British Pathé on YouTube
Oakham’s 1947 Pageant
A few more parked cars are present in the opening shots of this silent British Pathé film from 1947, but they are still outnumbered by bicycles and pedestrians.
In the next scene as the town Pageant begins, crowds of spectators and participants dominate the scene. It starts with a marching band, military and uniformed marchers, then a few sombre floats of people dressed up. The vehicles also have ‘Fight For Rutland’s Independence’ posters on the front. At one point two Hunt riders in redcoats march along with a pack of foxhounds.
The action then moves to a field, where spectators stand or mill around the floats of people in costumes. There’s also a boxing match between two men in Victorian costumes.
The final scenes, showing the railway station and the ancient heart of the village, are almost deserted of people or traffic.
“Oakham Pageant (1947)” – British Pathé on YouTube
Oakham in Bloom (2006)
Enjoy a video prepared for the National Judges in 2006, when Oakham reached the final of Britain in Bloom. It features many locations around the town and a good range of photos of local residents.
“Oakham in Bloom 2006” – Richard Adams on YouTube
Town Centre Drive (2009)
Enjoy a video of a drive through the centre of town in January 2009.
“Oakham, Rutland” – ManAboutTowns on YouTube
Level Crossing Repairs (2013)
The level crossing at the railway station was repaired in 2013.
“Oakham Level Crossing Repairs” – Jim Harrison on YouTube
Royal Visit (2014)
On a sunny day in 2014 Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall visited a number of locations around Oakham. They also met a number of local residents at each stop.
“Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall visit Rutland” – The Royal Family Channel
Oakham’s Earthquake (2015)
At 10.25pm on Wednesday 28 January 2015, Oakham was at the epicentre of an earthquake. With a magnitude of 3.8, the shaking was felt by residents for up to ten seconds. BBC East Midlands News reported on the unusual event, with warnings about more activity to come.
“More Earthquakes To Come For Oakham BBC East Midlands News Paul Denton BGS Catmose College Video” – Martin Brookes on YouTube
Oakham’s Flood (2015)
On 14th September 2015, storms and heavy rain caused flash flooding across Britain. Subsequently the main road through Oakham was under several inches of water.
“Flash Floods in Oakham” – Home James on YouTube
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