Our newsreel screenings include monthly changing archive footage in our beautiful Classic auditorium

Fashion styles in the spotlight – and a prince turns One


Eight years of clothes rationing ended in 1949 so the newsreels celebrated with a look at new ideas for coats, dresses and hats, and baby Prince Charles had his first birthday.

Princess Margaret’s hat

The present Queen’s younger sister, then 19, visits a fashion show dedicated to hats, wearing an eye-catching one of her own, made of black velvet topped with a trim of ermine tails. Free of the controls of rationing, London hat designers put their skills and imagination to the test with an array of fabrics, feathers and fun.

Styles for the 1950 season

In the wider fashion world, Violet Attlee, wife of the then Prime Minister, and Crown Princess Martha of Norway are among the guests at a celebratory fashion show of styles from the past plus new ideas for what to wear in the next decade. They keep some of the simple lines of the ration-restricted 1940s but also work in touches of luxury, such as the elaborately-styled “Silver Jubilee” evening dress.

Remembrance Day

Four years after the end of the Second World War the newsreels illustrate events at the Cenotaph in London, at village war memorials and with a montage of scenes contrasting wartime battlefields with industry and working life in peace-time.

A birthday prince

In a reminder that royal babies have always been a topic of media and public interest, Prince Charles, nearly one year-old, is seen briefly with his parents, Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, and then with his nanny, off in his pram for a spin round one of the London parks. Royal security looks more relaxed in those days – but probably the second taller nanny walking alongside is a protection officer.

Cinema-goers sampled the glamour of the Motor Show with new styles for the 1950s – Triumph Mayflower, Hillman Minx Mark4, Ford Pilot and the ultra-streamlined Rover 75 P4. Plus film stars, the Comet jet and a royal racehorse.

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