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Medway MovieBase

A social history of the Medway Towns and Lower Medway Valley in film 1950-1985: a selection from the Tony Blake Film Collection.

  • Scenes on a spritsail sailing barge on the River Medway or River Thames or in the Thames Estuary, showing members of the crew and passengers relaxing or attending to equipment on deck, c.1950
  • Running time 1 minute, 27 seconds. Black and white, silent (file Tony Blake 1)

  • Morris dancing display by East Kent Morris Men in Rochester Castle gardens or inner bailey, showing Morris men and women, folk musicians, hooden horse and onlookers, c.1975
  • Running time 2 minutes, 5 seconds. Colour, silent (file Tony Blake 2).

  • Medway Steam Fair, Great Lines, Gillingham, opening with view of steam fair placard and showing traction engines under steam, stationary and in motion in a field, with onlookers in background and closing with scenes of a traction engine driving a Foster threshing machine, 16-17 May 1970.
  • Running time 2 minutes, 13 seconds. Colour, silent (file Tony Blake 3)

  • TS Arethusa (formerly SS Peking), Lower Upnor. The film opens with a view looking eastwards along the water's edge at Lower Upnor, panning southwards towards TS Arethusa. The scene changes to the figurehead and brick huts ashore, showing pedestrians, panning out towards Cockham Wood, trot moorings and St. Mary's Island, Brompton, before returning to Arethusa, showing her from the starboard side from two vantage points ashore, either side of the jetty. The film closes with views of the shoreline and the River Medway, c.1965.
  • Running time 2 minutes, 29 seconds. Colour, silent (file Tony Blake 4).

  • Medley possibly associated with the residents or staff of Foord Almshouses, Priestfields, Rochester, beginning with a Remembrance Day open air service and parade at Chatham War Memorial, Victoria Gardens, New Road, Chatham. The film opens with a church procession headed by a minister of religion with New Road in the background. The next scenes show church choir members, the war memorial plinth and laying of wreaths, assembled cub scouts and boy scouts, army cadets, Salvation Army band, Royal British Legion standard bearers, a war veteran wearing medals and bystanders, 1968 (file Tony Blake 5-1);

  • For a comparison with still photographs of Victoria Gardens and New Road, Chatham, see the Couchman Collection

  • The medley continues with outdoor scenes of residents and grounds staff of Foord Almshouses, Priestfields, Rochester, tending their allotments and gardens and posing for the camera. Interspersed are scenes of residents on excursions to Tenterden and at least one seaside resort, showing a fast boat ride, fun rides at Clacton on Sea amusement park, Essex and strollers on the Esplanade, Worthing, Sussex, showing Worthing Dome, views of Rochester Airport and a microlight aeroplane and sports fields, athletics event and sea gulls in Rochester, 1968 (file Tony Blake 5-2)
  • Total running time of files 5-1 and 5-2, 16 minutes, 17 seconds. Colour, silent.

  • Chatham street scenes, opening with views of Hawkins' Hospital and the Chatham boundary sign in Chatham High Street and Military Road looking towards the town hall, showing buses, motor cars, pedestrians, Royal Navy sailors in square rig and shop fronts, c.1965
  • Running time 1 minute and 3 seconds. Colour, silent (file Tony Blake 6)

  • Scenes of Medway Bridge Marina and a trip down the River Medway on a motor cruiser. The film opens with a view of Medway Bridge Marina, Borstal, looking towards the M2 Motorway bridge across the River Medway and motor cruisers on the hard. The next scenes are taken from a motor cruiser afloat and show TS Arethusa from the starboard side looking towards Lower Upnor, a passing fishing boat, the tender under tow, skipper and woman passenger wearing head scarf inside the cockpit, view of the cockpit windscreen and skipper seen from a position forward of the cockpit and a view of merchant ships alongside the Isle of Grain. The film closes with a a view of the tender, the vessel's wake and the River Medway looking west, 1967
  • Running time 2 minutes, 10 seconds. Colour, silent (file Tony Blake 7).

  • Air show at Rochester Airport. The film opens with a short display by a biplane. The following scenes show a P51 Mustang, an aerobatic display by a pair of biplanes, a view of a static De Havilland Fox Moth biplane, a young woman posing by an aeroplane, a parachutist descending and parked and flying monoplanes and biplanes. The film closes with an aerobatic display by a biplane with stuntman or woman standing on the top wing, 1967
  • Running time 2 minutes, 18 seconds. Colour, silent (file Tony Blake 8).

  • Medley of films (files 9/1-4). The medley begins with Walderslade Carnival. This short film opens with views of majorettes and shows the Boys' Brigade, baton twirlers and an American Wild West pioneer wagon and ends with a procession of floats, 1977 (file Tony Blake 9-1);
  • The next short film shows the street frontage of the Odeon Cinema (formerly the Gaumont cinema, previously the Majestic Cinema) 212-228 High Street, Rochester, looking firstly west (from vantage point diagonally opposite, near entrance to Bourne and Hillier's Dairy) then east (from the junction with Corporation Street), showing passing traffic, pedestrians, neighbouring shops in the High Street and the corner of Bourne and Hillier's dairy, Corporation Street, 1985, (file Tony Blake 9-2);
  • For a comparison with still photographs of the cinema and neighbouring parts of the High Street, see the Couchman Collection

  • Chatham Carnival, viewed from a vantage point opposite Halifax Building Society, 130-132 High Street, Chatham, looking towards Shoefayre, 136 High Street. This film shows a procession of floats and motor and horse drawn vehicles and crowds of onlookers. Participants include F.W. Simes and Son of New Road, Rochester, the White Road estate, marching musicians and baton twirlers, SEGAS, Kent Ambulance Service, men in drag, Winget Ltd. of Strood, Rochester, engineers, Trustee Savings Bank (TSB), Royal Marine cadets band, baton twirlers, air cadets' band, a brewery folk club, St. John Ambulance Brigade, Buy British Campaign, William Cory and Son Ltd., of Rochester, coal factors, Skipaway, footballers, Norsemen reanactors in period costume and Chatham/Valenciennes, France twinning committee, 1980
  • Running time 18 minutes, 8 seconds. Colour, silent (files Tony Blake 9/3-4).

    For a comparison with still photographs of the same section of Chatham High Street, see the Couchman Collection

  • Views of Cobham Hall. The film opens with a view of the west front of Cobham Hall, showing in the foreground the lawn at edge of West Park, panning from left to right from the north wing, garden court and central block to the south wing. Visitors stroll across, sit on the lawns and play football and we see trees at the edge of the south pleasure gardens. After further glimpses of visitors the camera provides close-up views of the porch or chapel entrance to the north wing. The film closes with views of the lawns and flower beds in the south west corner of the park, the west front and south wing, 1968.

    Running time 1 minute, 54 seconds. Colour, silent. (file Cobham Hall)

  • For a comparison with still photographs of Cobham Hall and gardens see the Couchman Collection

  • Events in Rochester Castle Gardens. The film begins with views of owners grooming various breeds of dog prior to entry in a dog show. The next scenes show visitors to the show, the cameraman's relations in Epaul Lane or Castle Hill and in the Precincts, the north side of Rochester Cathedral and College Yard and near Chertsey's Gate. The film resumes coverage of entrants to the dog show and shows an Alsation or German shepherd dog being exhibited [cf. Germany]. The dog show sequence concludes with a glimpse of picnicers in the castle gardens. The next sequence is of a Punch and Judy show, the presenter or ventriloquist dressed in striped shirt and straw hat and concludes with views of the audience of children and adults, 1977.

    Running time 3 minutes, 41 seconds. Colour, silent (file Dog Show/Punch and Judy)

  • For a comparison with still photographs of Rochester Castle and Gardens, see the Couchman Collection: Castle and Rochester Civic Week and Historical Pageant 22-27 June 1931

  • Chatham Navy Days. This short film shows the frigate HMS Blackpool, Leopard Class frigate HMS Jaguar, a sailor in anti-flash gear traversing a twin Bofors gun turret, demonstrations of naval operations afloat, a Chinese junk [cf. China], the dockyard basins, civilian visitors and naval personnel, 1960

    Running time 1 minute, 40 seconds. Colour, silent (file Navy Day)

  • For a comparison with still photographs of HM Dock Yard and Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham, see the Couchman Collection

  • Naval ceremonial in Chatham. This film opens with a Royal Marines band marching down Dock Road, Chatham, followed by a Royal Marines marching contingent and the Royal Marine cadets, viewed from a vantage point on the east side of Dock Road looking towards the former Royal Marine Barracks. In the background can be seen motor vehicles including minis and lambretta scooters. The scene changes briefly to the Town Hall with a Royal Navy marching contingent in view and sea cadets lining the pavement. The next scenes show the marching column returning along Military Road to give the salute to the mayor of Chatham in the company of senior naval officers on a dais. The Royal Marines band beats the retreat in front of the Town Hall seen from a vantage point in The Brook, looking towards St. Mary's Church. Buses are seen turning from Dock Road into Military Road in the background. The footage of the naval ceremonial closes with the band being led into Whiffen's Avenue, c.1960 (file RE Band)
  • For a comparison with still photographs of Dock Road and the Royal Marines' Barracks, see the Couchman Collection: Dock Road and Royal Marines' Barracks

  • Military ceremonial in Brompton. This film opens with a display by the Royal Engineers' Band at Brompton Barracks, Gillingham. The footage begins with an informal glimpse of sitting and standing band members with visiting members of the public and the Royal Engineers' Institution building and Corps Library in the background. In the next scene the band marches through the Crimean War [cf. Russia, Ukraine] memorial arch into Brompton Barracks Square, showing in the background the entrance to the officers' mess, Crimean War memorial arch, Great War memorial obelisk, just discernably the Boer War memorial arch, RE Institute and visitors, c.1965 (file RE Band)
  • Total running time 5 minutes, 32 seconds. Colour, silent (file RE Band)

    For a comparison with still photographs of Brompton Barracks, see the Couchman Collection

  • Very short film of a street scene in Chatham showing a No.5 bus turning from The Brook eastwards into the High Street, seen from a vantage point outside C.W. Finey and Son, greengrocers' shop, 310 High Street, looking west along the High Street and showing the White Lion public house (325 High Street) and the shopfronts of nos. 319-323 High Street, pedestrians, cyclist (in process of dismounting), Royal Navy sailors in square rig and soldiers in battledress, c.1950

    Running time 13 seconds. Black and white, silent (file Street Scene)

  • For a comparison with still photographs of the east end of Chatham High Street, see the Couchman Collection

    File updated by Borough Archivist 3 May 2007

Date: c.1950-c.1980
Quantity: Running times as stated above.
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