Old London Street Scenes – Extract from BFI commissioned film

Posted by in News, Videos

James was recently commissioned by the BFI to compose a score for The Big Smoke. This is an extract from the film.

This is what the BFI say:

Experience London life in a bygone age, from the bustle of the Victorian commute to the ordeal of the Blitz, with this programme of silent films from the BFI National Archive – brought to dazzling life with a newly-commissioned score and featuring a selection of treasures from the Imperial War Museum and London’s Screen Archives.
Score composed and performed by celebrated pianist James Pearson with the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars.

Made over 100 years ago, this footage shows a number of scenes shot around central London, taking in locations such as Hyde Park Corner, Parliament Square and Charing Cross Station. We see crowds of people disembarking from a pleasure steamer at Victoria Embankment, pedestrians dodging horse-drawn carriages in Pall Mall, and heavy traffic trotting down the Strand. In fact crossing the road back then would probably be regarded as an extreme sport today – pedestrians scarily dodge carriages and horses risking life and limb.
There are plenty of famous landmarks to spot here, including Big Ben, the National Gallery and the Bank of England, and it is fascinating to see the similarities between the customs of “then” and “now” – the dense traffic (mainly horse-drawn, with the occasional motor car) is highly reminiscent of today’s London rush hour, whilst advertising on public transport is clearly no new phenomenon – in one scene, an advert for Nestlé’s Milk seems to be plastered on every other vehicle.