Could this be the oldest colour home video?
Historians have found what could be the earliest colour home movie ever shot in Britain - amateur footage showing life in a 1930s English village.The video shows the community of Great Rissington in glorious technicolor celebrating Coronation Day on May 12, 1937.It shows the village having a massive party, kids in costume including a boy dressed as Charlie Chaplin and features one little girl who is still alive today.The film was shot using Kodak's Kodachrome which arrived a year before - and made colour home movies possible for the first time.Leading experts in film say it is ''particularly significant given that the film documents an important moment in British history in colour at a time when black and white remained the norm for both still photography and the moving image''.The technology was only available to the very rich - including a wealthy local in the Cotswolds called Mrs Mitchell - who was known for wearing a fox fur coat.Her films, which caught the pomp and ceremony of the event, were discovered in a cabinet and have since been lovingly restored by the local history society.She shot the footage of people celebrating the coronation of King George VI which shows large numbers of children parading through the village in fancy dress.Many can be seen waving large Union Jack flags while being led by a bugle player and smiling for the new-technology camera.The clips show houses adorned with bunting, dressed up children walking through the streets and gifts being handed out - in full colour.Some adults are also dressed up - including one woman who appears to have gone as a traffic light.People in the footage include one youngster Sheila Price who was aged nine on May 12, 1937 - and is still alive today aged 91.Mrs Price said: "I can't remember much from the day.
I do remember all the houses being decorated - I went around and looked at them."But still, when they told me about the footage, I was excited.''Mrs Price added that celebration days in the village were commonplace - but said being recorded was a "real novelty".Sat alongside Mrs Price to watch the footage was Brian Agg, 73, and Marjorie Hicks, 82.Both said they could identify friends and family from their childhoods in the films.Mrs Hicks said: "I can recognise quite a lot of people on there - 1937 was the year I was born.''In those days we knew everybody from the village.
Most of us married and stayed local.
Now, of course, it's different."Mr Agg added: "Not everyone was related - that would be an exaggeration - but most were."You had uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews in Great Rissington."Everyone knew everyone."I grew up in the 1950s and we were just about hanging onto that then."The films were found several years ago by the Rissington Local History Society.The society knew of its existence but only rediscovered it after finding it buried in one of their cabinets.Archivist Don Bowie then sent the reels off to be cleaned and restored.The amazing footage can now be seen in crystal clear 4K resolution and have been slowed down enough so faces are recognisable.Mr Bowie, 66, said: "I thought: 'If they're on Ciné film they're never going to be seen again, so lets do something about it'."My aim was to get them done professionally, before they deteriorated and were useless."They did a fabulous job with it."The colour was a bit washed out and the definition was very poor before - you weren't able to spot people in the film."Now you can say: 'Oh yeah, that was Bill's uncle or whatever'.He continued: "Watching it with the three of them has been absolutely magic - fantastic."Now it's been slowed down and is a lot clearer, they've been talking about it an awful lot more."Mrs Price said the only time she had access to Ciné film was at Mrs Mitchell's house at Christmas.She said: "She used to show us film of her two little Pekingese dogs - they were like her children."Then we saw Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Cops and had tea and biscuits.
We thought it was wonderful."Dr Paul Frith is a senior film lecturer at the University of East Anglia.He said amateur filming in colour in the 1930s was something "only available to those who could afford it".He said: "This is potentially one of only a small number of films shot using Kodachrome in Britain within the same year it was first introduced and is particularly significant given that the film documents an important moment in British history in colour at a time when black and white remained the norm for both still photography and the moving image."During this period, amateur film-making in any form was still an expensive hobby, exclusive to the upper classes and others who could afford it."Colour was rarer still, and Kodachrome stock was hard to come by, particularly considering the years of war and subsequent rationing which followed in the 1940s and 1950s."As a result, a great deal of these films were made by those select few who had access to colour and also had good reason to use their precious Kodachrome stock."The coronation celebrations at Rissington represented a perfect opportunity to capture a significant moment in the local community."A lot of these early colour films capture similar celebrations worthy of using colour."There are a great deal of films from this period which capture holidays abroad, quite often in the former colonies, and made by families of military personnel."Mrs Price, Mrs Hicks and Mr Agg, who were all born in Great Rissington, all remain in the Cotswold area.They said a theme of village life immediately before and after the Second World War was that "everybody was nice to everybody - more or less".Mr Agg said: "I don't think there was time to fall out.
It was so busy."Most people worked on the farm."It was long hours, seven days a week."Mrs Hicks added: "We didn't go away very much."I did a bit when I got a bicycle but I didn't go too far."If you had a holiday you went to relatives."The history society now hope to show the footage to the whole village.