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UK: Archive of unique reportages about Roma dating back to 1910 now on YouTube

London, 3.5.2014 0:13, (ROMEA)
A Roma pilgrimage to Lourdes, 1958. (PHOTO:  print screen from the video footage on YouTube)
A Roma pilgrimage to Lourdes, 1958. (PHOTO: print screen from the video footage on YouTube)

An archive of 85 000 newsreels by the British Pathé company, which documented the events of the 20th century in the UK and elsewhere, has been published on YouTube in high definition. The archive includes unique film reportages about Romani people, the oldest of which is probably from the year 1910.

Some of the video footage, given its extreme age, does not include audio, while other reportages include commentary. Through this unusually generous step, Pathé UK wants to make its unique archive of reportages available to those interested around the world.  

Digitalization of the whole archive was made possible by a grant from the British Government to Pathé UK four years ago. The clips include the following: 

Galician Gypsies (1910)

Probably the oldest footage of Romani people in this archive, this video captures the dancing of Galician Roma in Spain.


Double Gypsy Wedding (1938)

A double Roma wedding in the British town of Baildon.



As Befits A Romany Queen (1933)

Filmed in Franborough, Kent, England, this video captures the royal funeral of Queen Gypsy Lee (given name Levi Boswell), who passed away at the age of 82. The funeral procession for the "Queen of the Kentish Gypsies" is led by a horse-drawn carriage and the funeral is attended by a large number of people. Gypsy Lee predicted the time and place of her own death, fulfilling her destiny as a renowned prophetess at the end of her life.  


Gypsies' Pilgrimage In Lourdes (1958)

Footage from a Roma pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1958.


Gypsy Pop Group In Prague (1970)

The "Roma Star" band came from eastern Slovakia, but worked in Prague. This reportage includes Czech-language commentary.


Czech Television has reported that the director of British Pathé, Alastair White, said on the launch of this material:  "This archive is a unique treasure in the context of culture and history which no one should ever forget. Posting the films to YouTube seems the best way to achieve that. We hope that whoever has a computer will see these films and enjoy them."

The entire archive of newsreels, which comprises a total of 3 500 hours of broadcast time, was the only source of such reportages prior to the start of television broadcasting. The films cover the period from 1896 to 1976. 

The newsreel coverage of both World Wars is particularly detailed. "Whether you are looking for reportages about the royal family, the Titanic, the Hindenburg disaster or stories of peculiar British pastimes, you will find it all on one channel. You can get lost in it for hours," White said.

In addition to important moments from British history, the films record events of world significance, including key moments in the history of Czechoslovakia.

Other videos from the British Pathé channel concerning Romani people can be found here.

bau, Czech Television, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 924x

Related articles:


British Pathé, Romové, Video, You Tube


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