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Amazing Color Footage of Britain from the 1920s


About a month ago, we shared some stunning footage that showed what London was like all the way back in 1926. The original filming was done by Claude Friese-Greene, whose father William invented the ‘Biocolour‘ technique of capturing color film footage.

That particular video was a compilation of snippets that Friese-Greene had filmed in London when he returned form a 2-year journey. He called the final product The Open Road, and it was a 26-part series that took him all over Britain. Fortunately for us, much of it has now been digitized and uploaded bit-by-bit to YouTube by The BFI National Archive.

Because of the way the clips were filmed, it’s not the kind of true color we started to get in the mid to late 1930s. In the Biocolour method, every other frame of black-and-white film was exposed through a red or blue filter, after which the film would be developed normally, and each frame hand-tinted red or blue depending on the filter used.

Even if the result isn’t exactly Technicolor, it’s incredible to see what places like the The Edinburgh Zoo and Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Lancashire looked like in color all the way back in the mid 1920s:

This is just a small selection of The Open Road videos available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube. User Worldinvest was kind enough to pull all of Friese-Greene’s videos he could find on BFI’s channel (along with a few duplicates) and put them all into a convenient YouTube Playlist.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to learn more about his journey or purchase the full DVD, head over to the BFI National Archive here.

(via MetaFilter via Imaging Resource)