Victory Parade in Hackney and Tower Hamlets
16mm film Black & White Silent 08.06.1946 18:00
Summary: Amateur film record of the Victory Day celebrations in the Bethnal Green area.
Title number: 216
Description: The film begins with a street party in a terraced street decorated with flags, adults and children on their doorsteps and in the road. The Mayor and Mayoress are photographed amongst the revellers. In the courtyard of an apartment block, long tables and benches are laid out for a children's tea party. They are served by women, one in a union flag apron, the women present plates of tarts and sandwiches to the camera. The Mayor and his party sit at another table, with flags and posters of Field Marshall Montgomery and Winston Churchill behind them. Large bowls of trifle are brought to the table and ladled out to eager diners. The Mayor cuts a cake decorated with victory bows and a young girl presents the Mayoress with a bouquet of flowers. At night, a bonfire is raised and the silhouettes of onlookers are visible against the flames as young boys throw on more wood.
The remainder of the film takes concerns the Victory Parade, and begins with a shot of the flags of the Allied Powers flying from the roof of Bethnal Green Town Hall on Cambridge Heath Road. A subsequent shot from the roof of the town hall reveals steam locomotives pulling passenger carriages travelling along the Great Eastern Railway line behind the rows of shops on Cambridge Heath Road and the twin spires of St Jude, Bethnal Green beyond. The spire of Christ Church, Spitalfields and chimney of Truman's Brewery are also visible in the distance.
The Mayor of Bethnal Green and various other dignitaries take seats on a raised scaffold platform in front of the town hall. The camera films the view from the platform on to Cambridge Heath Road and the Red Deer pub opposite, where crowds of people line the street. The Victory Parade entourage begins to pass by, led by a number of motorcycle outriders followed by grand automobiles carrying the military Chiefs of Staff. People lean out of their windows on Patriot Square to get a better look. Some shots from the roof of the town hall record the rest of the parade: a motorcycle formation leads a car carrying the American commanders, followed by armoured vehicles and a staff car carrying Field-Marshall Montgomery. Some RAF bomb tender and bomb disposal trucks are followed by an aircraft transporter truck, marked 'aircraft salvage', carrying the body and wings of a plane (possibly a Hawker Typhoon). A truck carrying rescue dinghies is followed by two cabs pulling fully loaded torpedo carriages, motor-cranes, and members of the Women's Land Army with a tractor. Behind them come various home services, the Salvation Army and National Savings vans. More military hardware comes afterwards in the form of tanks, heavy artillery and assault vehicles. A low loader truck transports a Diesel locomotive. Some jeeps are followed by Army cameramen (possibly Army Film and Photography Unit), with 16mm and 35mm cameras on tripods stood on their vehicles, and the Army fire service. After the last vehicle passes the crowd swells into the street. Many crowd about a brass band playing outside the 'Museum' cinema. Some of the local dignitaries retire to the roof of the town hall, smoking, talking and looking around. The cardinal directions have been painted on the roof as assistance for the ARP. The dignitaries then view the Victory Parade fly past of military fighter planes and bombers. The film closes with a shot of the union flag.
Further information: The Hackney Gazette of 12 June 1946 provides full coverage of the parade.
Keywords: Parades; War
In galleries: Paradise Place
Locations: United Kingdom; England; London; Hackney; Tower Hamlets; Bethnal Green