Discover what the small city of Stirling in Central Scotland used to look like, thanks to free-to-view videos and vintage film you can watch from the comfort of your own home.
Old Photos & Memorabilia
A lovely collection of old photos brought together by Tour Scotland, covering a wide range of decades and locations.
Valerie Forsyth put together a fantastic selection of titled photographs, interspersed with other items showing a snapshot of local life in the olden days.
In 2014, Colin McGregor took a walk from the station up to the top of town via King Street, Baker Street, and Broad Street. He describes people and places of interest, and we see a small city centre going about its business. In addition, old photographs of each location appear, allowing the audience to see how the streets have changed over time.
Archive Films From the 1920s & 1930s
Claude Friese-Greene originally filmed ‘The Open Road’ in 1925 & 1926, and is all the more exceptional for being in colour. The BFI National Archive recently re-edited and digitally restored the film, and uploaded this short clip to YouTube.
You don’t see much beyond the family, but it’s worth the thirty seconds to see the little laddie.
In 1935, a Scots Society trip to Scotland visited Stirling, Gleneagles, Crieff, Comrie and Lochearnhead. One of the party took this 16mm film. Being amateur, it’s often a bit shaky or lopsided, but includes real life rather than just carefully shot empty buildings.
The first few minutes show roads in and around Newcastle, including the Tyne Bridge which looks foggy and deserted compared to today.
From the British Pathé archive comes this short film lasting just a minute and a half, waxing lyrical about Stirling as the Gateway to the Highlands.
It was an age when guides pointed out things to note using their walking stick.
A “panel of Scottish schoolteachers” collaborated on this 1936 film showing the principal centres in Scotland for road and rail networks. Includes Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.
A balck and white silent film from 1938, in 3 reels.
The first two reels capture different locations around Stirling, while the third visits the village of Torbrex in Stirlingshire.
13th May 1939, and the Second World War is less than four months away. But the crowds enjoy charities day, raising money on behalf of STIRLING Royal Infirmary in pre-NHS times. Lots of people, entertainers and events shown.
Town And Gown In The 1970s
Colour footage of the area from 1972. The narrator outlines some of the area’s history. Includes lots of families enjoying a day out at the zoo.
This 1973 film examines the foundation and activities of the University of Stirling.
Because it was presented by first Principal and Vice Chancellor Tom Cottrell, who appears to have died sometime between filming and final editing, the first couple of minutes are dominated by a sad, mournful poem.
The decision to include scenes of dissecting fish was a brave choice. But so were some of the lecture scenes, which are a sobering reminder that university isn’t all fun and clubbing!
“The lecture can only end inconclusively”.
None of the staff, students or activities shown are bursting with the enthusiasm of marketing videos universities now churn out everywhere.
But then, the students dress so conservatively it’s surprising they’re not wearing ties. It’s sometimes hard to figure out who the students are and who the staff are. Though there are a lot of hilarious hair and sideburns on display, not to mention the occasional necktie!
Silent, colour footage from 1976, showing the gigantic Steam Spectacular held at King’s Park. Lots of adults, children and vehicles appear.
The 1980s Vision Of The Future
FutureWorld Stirling 1984
Launched in July 1984, this film explains Stirling District Council’s plans to regenerate the Top of the Town and turn Stirling and Stirling Castle into a tourist destination.
It’s presented by the journalist and historian Magnus Magnusson (1929 – 2007).
The recurring snippets of 80s electronic music creates an atmosphere of creepy dystopia. Probably my favourite moment was 4.38 in. A quiet, peaceful green, surrounded by woodland and cheeping birds, is to be tarmaced over for a giant transport interchange. Then, visitors will be snaking up and down the hill thanks to self driving electric cars – remember, this is the year before even the Sinclair CV5 launched – and a two way glass-covered escalator!
Digitised by Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, this is a great summary of the city’s history and a chance to look back to well known locations in 1984.