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The shape of cars to come – 1949

Cinemagoers 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.

British jet airliner Comet sets a record
The de Havilland Comet, the first all-jet airliner, shows off its potential with a record-making flight of 2980 miles from Britain to Libya and back in just over six-and-a-half-hours.

The post-war appetite for speed and global travel gave the newsreels plenty of material. Test-pilot, the tweed-suited John “Cats’-eyes” Cunningham, was a wartime RAF night-flying hero. On a later special royal test flight of the Comet he supervised Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother as she took over the controls – briefly. The Comet started commercial service in 1952 and through various versions continued flying until 1981.

Laurence Olivier and Anna Neagle in the film awards spotlight
The Picturegoer Magazine Awards of Merit for best actor and actress in films of 1948 went to two of the country’s most popular stars of that time, Laurence Olivier for Hamlet, (one of the most impressive film versions of a Shakespeare play) and to Anna Neagle for the romantic comedy Spring in Park Lane.

Picturegoer, which appeared from 1911 to 1960, was the UK’s leading film fan magazine until the late 1940s when cinema chains such as Rank, ABC and Odeon began to publish their own glossy magazines.

Racehorse Monaveen gets a royal seal of approval
The then Queen Elizabeth and her daughter Princess Elizabeth (now Queen) bought the eight-year-old Monaveen which became the first royal steeplechaser and sparked off their long-running interest in National Hunt events as racehorse owners.

The clip begins on the racecourse balcony with a fleeting glimpse of the princess and her mother grasping binoculars to their eyes as grandmother Queen Mary, far left of the frame, gracefully raises a lorgnette to hers.

Indian pole sport
An Indian student demonstrates his skill in yoga-based pole-work (known as Mallakhamba).

Cars for the 1950s unveiled at the 1949 British Motor Show
The motoring public get a foretaste of the new looks and features of next year’s cars –such as the stylish Triumph Mayflower, the Hillman Minx Mark4, the Ford Pilot and the ultra-streamlined Rover 75 P4. Innovations include push-button door-handles and what every woman driver of those times needed – a compartment for her handbag!

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Wed 16 Oct
Thu 17 Oct

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