Amazing colour footage of London in the 1920s

"They built an arch of marble, and called it Marble Arch."

From the minute the lush green landscape panned to reveal the Tower of London sitting in the middle of it, not a skyscraper in sight, I knew this would be good. Uploaded three years ago, but brought to my attention by Jason Kottke, this colour footage of London in the 1920s is astonishing:

London in 1927 from Tim Sparke on Vimeo.

"The entrance to London's lung", reads the caption as the camera tucks into Hyde Park and films the "hunting ground for Cupid and other young things". And then, a painful reminder of a different time: footage of "how London takes care of its sparrows". There aren't many of them left in the capital.

Shot by "an early British pioneer of film named Claude Frisse-Greene", the video is capped off with a visit to Petticoat lane market, a tremendously unencumbered cricket match at the Oval, a walk down the Embankment and a final slow pan of the Houses of Parliament.

Photograph: BFI/Vimeo

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

Photo: Getty
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The big problem for the NHS? Local government cuts

Even a U-Turn on planned cuts to the service itself will still leave the NHS under heavy pressure. 

38Degrees has uncovered a series of grisly plans for the NHS over the coming years. Among the highlights: severe cuts to frontline services at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, including but limited to the closure of its Accident and Emergency department. Elsewhere, one of three hospitals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to be shuttered, while there will be cuts to acute services in Suffolk and North East Essex.

These cuts come despite an additional £8bn annual cash injection into the NHS, characterised as the bare minimum needed by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

The cuts are outlined in draft sustainability and transformation plans (STP) that will be approved in October before kicking off a period of wider consultation.

The problem for the NHS is twofold: although its funding remains ringfenced, healthcare inflation means that in reality, the health service requires above-inflation increases to stand still. But the second, bigger problem aren’t cuts to the NHS but to the rest of government spending, particularly local government cuts.

That has seen more pressure on hospital beds as outpatients who require further non-emergency care have nowhere to go, increasing lifestyle problems as cash-strapped councils either close or increase prices at subsidised local authority gyms, build on green space to make the best out of Britain’s booming property market, and cut other corners to manage the growing backlog of devolved cuts.

All of which means even a bigger supply of cash for the NHS than the £8bn promised at the last election – even the bonanza pledged by Vote Leave in the referendum, in fact – will still find itself disappearing down the cracks left by cuts elsewhere. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.