Top ten British Pathe films

man holding film reels

film reels

© British Pathe

    • British Pathé is one of the oldest media companies in the world, with a history stretching back to the 1890s. In that time they’ve captured and preserved over 100 years of history in their amazing film archive; from the very big moments to some of the odder episodes of the last century.

      Show Me has picked out our favourites:

      Beatboxing in the 1930s
      OK, OK, this isn’t technically ‘beatboxing’ as the singer is only doing an impression of a double bass, but still this is impressive!

      The First Mobile Phone

      We don’t know about you, but we would be lost without our mobile phones – even if we only use them to play games. We always think that mobile phones are modern inventions but here’s some footage from the 1920s that shows a really early prototype.

      Fisherman versus Swimmer

      This film from 1949 was shot at a swimming pool in Peckham. A professional fisherman pits his skills against a ‘human fish.’ Need we say more?

      Real Flea Circus

      We found this footage from a flea circus from the 1940s fascinating.

      A Flying Car

      Back when the 21st century seemed like a lifetime away, many people predicted that we would be whizzing around in flying cars. Sadly, flying cars are probably still some time off, but here’s some great footage of an early model.

      The First Time Man Flew

      Whilst we’re on the subject of flying, the British Pathé archive also has some footage of the very first time humans managed to get in the air – and stay there. Watch the Wright Brothers take to the sky here.

      One Small Step for Man

      Humans figured out flying in 1903, and 66 years later we managed to fly so high we reached the moon. It is incredible if you take a moment to think about how we managed to go so far so fast.

      You can see Neil Armstrong take his famous steps in the video below.

      Mad as a Hatter

      Do you remember that time Lady Gaga had a telephone for a hat? She wasn’t the first one to do something like that as you can see in this film from 1954. A fashion designer named Florence Russell has made some rather interesting hats – one is a telephone and the other is a UFO.

      Do you think you could pull off such a daring look?

      Flying Saucer Mystery

      Usually when we look up and see something in the sky that we can’t explain, the experts usually tell us something boring. “It’s just an aeroplane,” they might say, or perhaps “It’s just a weather balloon”. This film from 1952 shows an image of a suspected UFO and tries to recreate it with a weather balloon.

      Do they look similar? Of course not. Maybe the experts are trying to cover something up…

      A Motorised Bathtub

      This wacky invention would be useful if you’re prone to running late!

      The British Pathé website has thousands and thousands of interesting and intriguing videos. You can explore them all here.
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