Rare Colour Footage of the Blitz is Found
7th September 2010
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After being hidden from view for over 70 years, a rare piece of colour footage that was filmed during the London Blitz has been released by Westminster Archives Team.

The film shows Sir Winston Churchill visiting a bomb-damaged London and has been made public to mark the 70th anniversary of the Blitz. It was shot by Alderman Coucher (OBE) who was the Chief Air Raid Warden for Marylebone and shows how widespread the devastation was.

The handful people who have seen the film were amazed by the images of old-fashioned double decker buses and commuters going about their daily business despite the rubble around them. Sir Winston Churchill is seen surrounded by cheering people as he reviews civil defence workers in Hyde Park. Prominent buildings in the West End can also be seen in the footage, including the John Lewis store on Oxford Street, which was attacked whilst 200 people slept in its basement shelter.

The film covers events throughout the sustained bombing of London by Nazi Germany, between 7th September 1940 and 10 May 1941. It was unearthed by the Chief Air Raid Warden and his family after it was stored in the attic.

On finding what was on the film his granddaughter Carolyn Keen, a former Lord Mayor of Westminster, said: "My grandfather was an enthusiastic amateur film maker and as Chief Air Raid Warden at the time he made this footage as a way of informing and training other wardens in Westminster. I had no idea just how striking the images would be and how much they would serve to act as a reminder of the terrible damage inflicted on London during the Blitz."

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