British Pathé films of St Albans released from archive and put online

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 May 2014

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip at the Royal Maundy at the Abbey

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip at the Royal Maundy at the Abbey


Old reels of film footage hardly ever seen before including moving images of the Queen and Prince Philip in St Albans have been released by British Pathé and published online.

The excavation site near the Roman theatreThe excavation site near the Roman theatre

A famous old orchid factory, a Roman excavation and the M25 bypass are just some of the other moments in history captured by film crews and now available to the public.

The films are among the 85,000 historic movies that have been uploaded to YouTube in high resolution by the notable film institute.

Alistair White, general manager of British Pathé said: “This archive is a treasure trove unrivalled in historical and cultural significance that should never be forgotten. Uploading the films to YouTube seemed like the best way to make sure of that.

“Whether you’re looking for coverage of the Royal Family, the Titanic, the destruction of the Hindenburg, or quirky stories about British pastimes, it’ll be there on our channel. You can lose yourself for hours.”

David Sander at the Orchid GroveDavid Sander at the Orchid Grove

Some of the films include:

According to the paperwork accompanying this video, the filming took place at David Sander’s Orchid Grove, which reportedly closed in 1956, the same year the footage was made. It features David Sander at the first and only orchid growers by royal appointment, cross pollinating the flowers.
The video explains that each flower would be logged in a stud book and that Sanders famously had only one of two stud books which dated back more than a 100 years.

The Royal Maundy
In this video the Queen is seen to be carrying on a tradition of history alongside Prince Philip and at the same time making history, as this was the first time since the reign of Charles II that the sovereign has carried out the Royal Maundy ceremony in person outside of London.
It involves giving coins and money to as many old men and women as there are in the sovereign’s age. In 1957 the number given out would have been 31.

Bishop enthroned
This footage shot at St Albans Abbey shows Rev Philip Henry Lloyd, the new Bishop, being enthroned – a first for the Pathé Gazette according to the video. It follows the new Bishop and other dignitaries walking into the Cathedral in robes. The new Bishop then takes the Oath of Fidelity.
Several shots show the enthronement of the Bishop of St Albans by the Archdeacon of Canterbury in the Choir of the Cathedral. The new Bishop proceeds to bless the congregation and dignitaries of the church kiss the Bishop’s ring and pledge obedience.

This 1957 clip shows a group of holidaymakers led by the director of excavations from the London University’s institute of archaeology helping to excavate the site of a Roman town near Watling Street and the Roman theatre.
The presenter of the video describes how the team were on a race against time to gain as much information and relics from the 120 by 30 yard site before it was filled to become a bypass.

To watch the films click here

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