Cardiff, 1926 “A ride on a tram-car down Queen Street—said to be the busiest thoroughfare in all Wales!”

This 1926 film of Cardiff restored by the BFI also shows Cardiff University students dressed up for charity during Rag Week.

This extract comes from Claude Friese-Greene’s ‘The Open Road’ – originally filmed in 1925/6 and now re-edited and digitally restored by the BFI National Archive. Britain seen in colour for the first time was heralded as a great technical advance for the cinema audience – now we can view a much improved image, but one which still stays true to the principles of the colour process.

There’s also this fascinating footage of Cardiff Docks from the same film showing shipments of timber being prepared for transport to the mining towns where it was used to support the tunnels in the mines:

Footage taken from The Open Road.

In the summer of 1924 Claude Friese-Greene, a pioneer of colour cinematography, set out from Cornwall with the aim of recording life on the road between Land’s End and John O’Groats. Entitled The Open Road, his remarkable ground-breaking travelogue was conceived as a series of shorts, 26 episodes in all, to be shown weekly at the cinema.

The BFI also have this footage of the “Terra Nova” leaving Bute Docks in 1910:

On 1 July 1910 Captain Robert Falcon Scott and the British Antarctic Expedition left Bute Docks, Cardiff, for the last great unexplored continent on Earth. The ship, Terra Nova, originally a whaler built in Dundee, had been refitted and coaled at Cardiff for her long voyage south. Both of the leading British polar explorers Scott and Shackleton had been on fund raising and lecture tours in 1909 so that awareness of the departure of Britain’s biggest and most ambitious expedition yet was high. It was not yet known that the Norwegian explorer Amundsen was also on his way to Antarctica: in September 1910 the expedition would become a race. (Bryony Dixon)