I have a feeling that this is yet another RAG event that has long disappeared. The Chariot Race down Oxford Street from Speaker’s Corner was last referenced in FELIX way back in 1976 and has not been mentioned since. Well, until today of course because we have some silent 8mm film once again shot by STOIC. This was yet another item featured in their weekly news programme TOPIC. This particular item has suffered from the ‘home processing’ that was carried out on these black and white films. I think that a combination of over exposure and dodgy processing has resulted in rather poor quality. However, it is a wonderful record of what Imperial students used to get up to to raise money during RAG week 50 years ago.
This 8mm film that we have is from 1972 and is not even listed in the STOIC archive index. That is simply because the original videotape in which the film was used no longer exists. In this case I cannot find any corresponding audio, which I assume was added during the recording of TOPIC, so it will appear silent.
The Inter-CCU Raft Race across the Serpentine in 1979 is yet another part of college history that’s very difficult to find anything about. I can certainly find several references to the event in Felix, but nothing about why it started. What I can tell you is that this 1979 race is the first I found mentioned, so it could have been the first race to happen and the reason why STOIC recorded it.
Of the listings in FELIX, there are only mentions of the fact that it’s happening or that it had already happened and which CCU won it (photo on right). Just one tiny extra piece I found was this ‘thanks’ from the Union President who said after the 1979 race: “Thanks to the Underwater Club for giving up their Sunday Lie-In to ensure the safety of the Raft Race“. And there was one photo in Felix announcing that RCS had won the race.
So sit back and enjoy this brief coverage of what may have been the very first Raft Race across the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park. It started in Prince’s Garden and then up the roads to Hyde Park.
Let’s go back 50 years this month to see the RAG Procession taking place around the High Street Kensington area. This is yet another ‘find’ in the archives. I had just digitised a whole collection of 8mm films and spliced together on one reel were three films with white leader in-between. All of the films were used in the now lost series of STOIC news programmes called TOPIC.
Because the only method to cover events was on 8mm film, a collection of these were kept; even though the programme videotapes were erased 50 years ago. I also recalled that I’d discovered a reel of audio tape marked STOIC Sound Archives along with a written list of what was on the tape. I went back to the list and RAG Procession was listed there. I digitised the segment and discovered that it was a pre-recorded voice-over and background sound that would have run in sync with the film when used in the programme. I also recognised the voice of STOIC member Robin Davies recording the commentary. Getting the sound off of the tape was not very easy because it was spliced into the reel of tape the wrong way around and was also over-recorded onto a tape that had an original 1/2 track recording on it and this was breaking through. Never the less, I got the tracks off and attempted to sync them up with the original film. It then appeared that the commentary and background sound did not cover the entire length of the film, but rather started at a later point. Therefore the section at the start is mute before the sound track commentary starts. I guess a decision was made to not use the first 30 seconds of the now edited film. When I was digitising the tape I could hear clearly a film projector running in the background and assume that’s how the commentary was synced with the film when it was recorded by Robin. Former STOIC Chairman Tim Dye recently passed a diary listing onto me of things that were happening between 1972-1973. I can now tell that Tim was the person who actually filmed this event on Saturday 12 February 1972 and would also certainly have edited it.
So for the first time in 50 years here again is that RAG Procession film, seen as it was originally shot in colour, but only ever seen once in black and white. And of course with that slightly delayed start to the commentary.
On the 29 November 1979 edition of STOIC’s News-Break, Bryan Steele spoke to the Rag Chairman, Rachel Snee about how she thought things had gone so far. There then followed a video of the “Exec Torture” which she had taken part in. The following week on the 5 December there the first of two summaries of Rag Events that had happened. On the 13 December programme, which was also the Christmas Special, the last summary was shown.
Both of these were brought together, and also compiled by, Alastair Knights, who was at that time the STOIC Archivist. This time period is now important because it’s the year when we moved onto the Sony U-Matic tape format, and videotapes were then subsequently kept. Up until then Ampex format videotapes were erased and re-recorded over each week. I encouraged the setting up of a card index and the inclusion of a running order in each tape box. From all of this we now have this amazing archive and associated index – which is now digitised.
Sadly, all of these video items were still being recorded in black and white, or maybe it was better that way? You judge for yourself as we go back 42 years into student Rag history…
In the Christmas edition of Felix from 1971 it was announced that on the 9 December the Taylor Memorial (Silly) Football Match would take place. It did, and STOIC were there to capture the event. You’ll notice that the picture is rather dim and very grainy. That’s because it was shot on 8mm film that STOIC developed ‘in house’ rather than use colour film that required external processing. With this method the film was available to be used within hours. It was in fact used in the Christmas Edition of TOPIC the weekly news programme. No sound of course, but there was a commentary added during the programme.
Were you in either of the teams back in December 1971? And does anyone know why it was the Taylor Memorial match? I can’t find any references to that name.
I have just stumbled across a copy of Felix for 4 December 1973. In it I found a promotion for STOIC’s weekly news-magazine programme TOPIC. The photo shows that is was promoting the “Golden Moments” of Rag Week in the Christmas edition of the programme on Friday 7 December. I’m sure that Rag Week would have been a few weeks earlier and suspect that this would have been shot on film, that possibly needed external developing, by Kodak perhaps?
I can also tell that this was just around the time when the co-axial cable had been run from the TV Studio all the way through the heating tunnels to the Beit Quad building. Sadly as usual, not a single edition of a TOPIC programme remains, they were all erased. What we do have are some of the 8mm films that were used within the programmes and I am now featuring those when I have scanned the film into digital. In two cases I have an audio tape of the actual soundtrack, as in Christmas and Easter editions.
One single item that does remain is an opening sequence, recorded in the original TV Studio on 30 January 1974. I really can’t say whether or not this was actually used in any of the programmes. Mark Caldwell, STOIC Chairman is seen, along with Paul Jarvis as Floor-manager. Dave Salmon is on camera 1 which is seen panning around. You can also see the original animated logo caption rotating around that was made by Selwyn Castleden. There’s an over the shoulder view of the control room with Steve Bell and Selwyn. There is also a brief glimpse of STOIC’s portable “rover’ videotape unit as Paul Jarvis walks in front of it. You will also see a great shot of the huge 2 inch Quadraplex videotape recorder that was donated by RCA. The very rare colour photo, taken on 1 May 1974 shows Selwyn and me in the control room looking very hard at a monitor.
Once more we have a discovery from the past and in this case it’s 50 years ago. A Super8mm colour film that was only marked as “City and Guilds College STOIC records 1972-73″ has now been digitised. Some of the content was also shot on standard 8mm film and I have already used that in the previous Lord Mayor’s Show blog. This previous version is the one that I have managed to sync audio with. But the version on this Super8mm film is different and not seen before. Why was it filmed in two versions at the same time? One of the many mysteries I’m finding with these films. Sadly these were only intended to be used once in the news programme and then put to one side. So, I guess that’s because the actual videotapes were erased (weekly because of videotape costs) then no one thought it was important to index or log these 8mm films?
The C&G film contains: activities in the C&G union office, London to Brighton run, building the float for the Lord Mayor’s Show, BO and students on way into London for the show, the actual Lord Mayor’s Show from two different years, Morphy Day at Putney and Guilds Elections in Mech Eng 220. Unfortunately, actual dates for these items are not marked on the film or its reel, we only know it’s 1972-73. But even then it could be, for example, Autumn term 1971 through to Summer 1972 and so on. I’ve tried to find information on who was president during these years but sadly even the C&G web pages don’t even record presidential years or names. So, any help on naming people would be great and I’ll add anything I get to this page. It will also help in logging the actual film. Having said all of this, I CAN name just one person on a Lord Mayor’s Show sequence. It’s Cathy Gee (now Morley I recall) and she was a main presenter on the news programme TOPIC, in which the film would have been used. Cathy (seen wearing the orange coat in a frame from the Lord Mayor’s Show sequence) was in C&G (see below update) and I’m wondering if she might have been involved with this film being made in some way. What I cannot discover is exactly why it was made. There is a letter inside the film container from the then secretary of STOIC to David Barnes in the C&G office in Mech Eng. The letters says that this was the film that David Barnes was asking about etc. I did find that David Barnes was Chem Eng 1975 and that I think he was also Vice President. Clearly this film was then returned back to STOIC along with that letter inside. Why did C&G use it and when? Sadly even this letter is undated but has to be post-1973.
UPDATE: Once again, since this was posted, I have had feedback & info from Paul Jowitt and Graham Hanson. Paul starts with references to Cathy Morley (Gee) and also adds some names he can remember:-
“She (Cathy) was C&GU Hon Sec in 71-72. I was President – and seen in the back of Bo waving a top hat in the Lord Mayor’s Show! Brian Darling was VP, Malcolm Newman was President the year after – he’s pictured with other C&GU Exec members further down your link. Dave Barnes was VP, and Graham ? Hon Sec. Thanks for sharing.”
And this from Graham Hanson:-
Graham Hanson was CGCU Hon Sec in 72/73 and can be seen at the start of the video in the bright yellow IC top.
at the start in the office there is Malcolm Newman (CGCU President) behind the desk with on left Jane Richardson (CGCU Rep) and Michelle Fairclough (Hon Treasurer). Also there is Richard Lolley (Vice President), and note that in your current notes Paul Jowitt have wrong info in that Dave Barnes wasn’t Vice President, it was Richard Lolley.
I think its then Chris Webley who walks in in that first sequence.
At 0.34 on the tape it pans to another desk, with me on the left, and Paul Jowitt and Penny Sheppard standing plus Dave Osborne (1973-4 Pres) sitting.
On the Brighton run its Malcolm Newman in Bo.
At 6.01,6.44 and 11.30 that’s Richard Lolley in the V-P jacket and with the megaphone.
I appear again briefly at 11.32 in the white hat.
At 13.50 (the 1973 CGCU elections) it starts with Malcolm and seated to the right is Jane and Michelle. I am at the blackboard.
At 14.17 you see Dave Osborne seated next to Penny Sheppard just before his election as 1973-4 President.
At 14.47 that’s me again on the mic.
At 15.20 there is a further brief appearance of Paul Jowitt.
From 40 years ago see all of the delights of Rag Week in November 1980. Seen here by the black and white location camera of STOIC for their weekly programme News-Break. This is the only record of the 1980 event that still exists. There are probably reports and a few photos in Felix, but here we can see and hear the week in all of its detail. We can’t smell some of it though!
Do you remember such delights as the Raft Race or the Pram Race? Maybe some of the events are in fact seen better in just black and white? Morphy Day on the Tow path at Putney is one good example (above colour image from a later year). A large number of things that used to happen in rag week are now just history. For example, I don’t recall hearing of the Raft Race for many years. The STOIC reporters on location were: Mike Hackett,Tracy Poole (now Tracy Dudley) and Grant Richmond.
Because this years 2020 event is cancelled, let’s go back nearly 50 years for an on-location report by STOIC on the 13 November 1971 Lord Mayor’s Show. This was shot on 8mm film for inclusion in their weekly news programme, then called TOPIC. I made two very important discoveries when sorting out and collating the collection of either badly or completely unlabelled 8mm films. Firstly, this particular film was actually shot in colour, but only ever seen in black and white. Secondly, I also discovered an audiotape that had a listing inside. One segment was marked “Lord Mayor’s Show – long film report”, but with no date. Fortunately, the sound track commentary has a date mentioned, which led me to finding out that it was the same as the film. And, although the film was only marked as ‘BBC; Carnival; 1973’, the content was clearly the same thing, so the date was wrong. The clincher was the mention on the audio tape of that years theme title of “students today, engineers tomorrow”. Also, the BBC float was mentioned with ‘space men’ being located next to the C&G float, so that confirmed things. This could not have been any other year than 1971.
I’ve adjusted and corrected the film as best as possible. The audio was never intended to ‘sync’ with the actual film images, but rather to complement it with real ‘on-location’ sounds and a report with interviews. But to make this work I have had to second-guess the film speed. It could have been shot at either 16fps or 18fps, the reel doesn’t say. Also, when the film was projected did it run at the correct speed? Therefore, I’ve had to adjust the digitised film speed to attempt to match the audio duration. The person you’ll hear commentating is former STOIC Chairman Tim Dye. Were you a student on the C&G float back then and are you now retired?
I’ve also found other sound recordings, suggesting that they are linked to more 8mm film reports. I just need to do some more research and try to identify the films, that’s if I do indeed have them of course. But for now, let’s go back 50 years for the sights and sounds of the Lord Mayor’s Show 1971.
I’ve had a great comment from Paul Jowitt about this post and video (incidentally I think he meant the 1971 show):
Enjoyed the 1970 Lord Mayor’s Show video! I was C&GU President at time and was the one standing up in the back of Bo. Happy days! Yours Paul