Theme Transport

Films in the archive's collection reflect the daily life of towns and cities in the region and illustrate holidays and outings taken by families and communities in the South East of England. As a result many of the archive's films capture the traffic and transport which is a feature of working life, travel and the urban landscape. Street scenes in 1920s Canterbury illustrate the busy roads where pedestrians and cyclists appear to have equal dominance alongside the cars. Road use is illustrated in many subsequent films, including cars, bicycles, commercial vehicles, trams and busses, the development of larger roads and the increasing volume of traffic. However, the London to Brighton veteran car run remains unchanged in providing a spectacle for film-makers to focus on, and the archive holds many films of this event taken over the years.

The use of transport in industry and the workplace is also well documented. Collections in the archive include Dennis Specialist Vehicles, based in Guildford, who manufactured fire engines and ambulances, and Sargent's Bus and Coach Services, based in East Grinstead, who provided coach transport for the region.

Rail transport is significantly represented in the collection. Many keen amateur cine film-makers, capturing life in the region on film, have also had an interest in the railways. The decline and closure of rural stations in the 1960s and the end of the age of steam is extremely well documented on film in the archive's collection. As a result three compilations DVD's have been produced on the history of 'Southern Steam' using material from the archive. The history of the Bluebell steam railway has also been extensively captured on film and two Bluebell Railway DVDs have been produced illustrating this collection.

The fascination with flight in the early days is illustrated in films from Bognor Regis, showing Sir Alan Cobham's Flying Circus in the 1920s and 1930s. Events at Shoreham airport are also captured at various times during it's history. The growth in cheaper air fairs and international travel from the 1960s onwards demanded in increase in airport and aircraft sizes and some of these changes can be witnessed in film taken at Gatwick airport at various times in its development.

The variety of river and ocean transport is also well captured on film in the collection. Pleasure seekers at the seaside taking speedboat rides and day trips to the continent; wealthy families taking cruises on ocean liners in the 1930s; the use of transport vessels on the River Medway and fishing boats in Hastings and Brighton are all part of the region's transport history.