28 April 2017 | 10.8 °C

Sail Down The 1950s Thames In This Gorgeous Old Film

Sail Down The 1950s Thames In This Gorgeous Old Film

Take a trip down the Thames of 1959 in this gorgeous old film from the remarkable Look At Life series.

Men on the Thames in 1959.

This short portrait of London's great river is from an altogether different age: before the London Eye dominated the South Bank; when the Royal Festival Hall stood, somewhat nakedly neighbour-free next to a shot tower.

The Royal Festival Hall in 1959.

This a time when the chimney above what's now the Tate belched smoke; and when Captain Scott's Discovery was moored below a relatively new Waterloo Bridge.

Bankside Power Station, now better known as Tate Modern.

London was a huge international port in 1959, handling one third of all Britain's exports and imports. The Port of London Authority spent £17m a year (£360m in today's money) in services, equipment and maintenance.

Captain Scott's ship Discovery was once moored on the Thames near Waterloo Bridge.

Anyone thinking our reliance on overseas foodstuffs is a recent phenomenon might be surprised to hear about the half-a-million tonnes of meat arriving in London each year in the 50s from Australia, New Zealand and Argentina.

Keep watching (the film's around 10 minutes in total), and you'll be rewarded with a glimpse of a youthful Queen Elizabeth enjoying a royal trip on the Thames.

Last Updated 21 February 2017