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Rare and Historic Greeves Related Films From The British Pathe Archive.

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  • Rare and Historic Greeves Related Films From The British Pathe Archive.

    As some of you will be aware, following receipt of copies of the 'OBG' Archive discs last year, I've been doing some research (on and off) of the British Pathe Archives in the hope of tracking down the footage filmed at the Greeves factory. OBG filmed the footage being filmed (on his 8mm cini-camera) at the factory as it was being shot.

    Well, so far that footage is still to be uncovered, but I have a lot more leads and information now on how to go about searching the Pathe archives (and others), so it may yet still bear fruit. I am also hoping to research the British Film Institute Archive and the East Anglian Film Archive, when I get the time!

    In the meantime, I think it's fair to say that I have managed to 'strike gold'!!! Below are some links to 38 short films that I have unearthed so far from the British Pathe Film Archive. Each 'clip' is between 1-2 minutes in length so it won't take long to view them all. Most have rare and historic Greeves content to some degree, whilst a few others are of more 'general' classic motorcyle interest. Most have sound whilst a few are silent, with most in black and white although a few are in colour. Details of each film are provided to the right of the 'viewing window' for each clip.

    How about; a snippet of the Greeves stand at the 1965 Motorcycle Show, a tantilising glimpse of the 'Greeves' stand sign at the 1954 Motorcycle Show (but not of the stand itself, sadly..), two films from the Brian Stonebridge Memorial Scramble meetings, Brian Stonebridge winning a scramble in 1959 and receiving his trophy with that wonderful trademark 'huge grin', the 1961 ISDT in Wales (one for you Rob-looks like a modded TDS to me?!), Dave Bickers and Joel Robert 'scrapping it out' at the British Motorcross GP, Bryan Goss and Alan Clough 'giving it the beans', Joel Robert riding a Greeves (and not a CZ!), Dave Bickers riding a Husqvarna (and not a Greeves!) and more Greeves 'in action' than you can shake a stick (or leading link fork leg!) at!!!

    There is much here for Greeves enthusiasts to savour and enjoy; what fantastic treasures! I'm so pleased to have discovered them, and there is plenty yet still to uncover, with a bit of luck and further digging! Have a look at the related films on the archive, with some incredible and historic footage on all sorts of interesting subjects, including further motorcycling items of course. It's one of those websites that could devour heaps of time if you're of a mind! Finding these clips certainly did!!!

    What's more, to my knowledge relatively few in the UK classic bike scene are aware of this magnificent resource, so it may well be an 'exclusive' for the GRA!

    The British Pathe Archive website 'homepage' is;

    I would like to express my personal thanks and appreciation to them for preserving this wonderful heritage for future generations to study and enjoy.

    I hope you will enjoy then too.


    In order to view the films, simply click onto each 'link' (in blue text under each film title) and it will take you straight to the relative film clip, opening in a 'new window'. Click onto the 'play' icon in the centre of the 'viewing screen' containing the image and the film will load in a few seconds; please allow a few moments for this to happen. Then, if you wish to view the film in 'full screen' once it starts, click on the small square 'screen' icon in the lower right of the 'viewing screen' of each clip, and close it again after watching. When you have finished watching the clip, simply close the 'link' (click the red 'X' on the current window, top right) taking you back to this page, and then you can select another, and so on.

    Here are the films, in no particular order;

    The International Motorcycle Show (1969.)

    Englishman Wins Motocross; Brian Stonebridge (1959.)

    Brian Stonebridge Memorial Trophy Race (1960.)

    Scramble For Trophy (1963.)

    Britain Wins Championship; 250cc Trophie Des Nations (1962.)

    Six Days Trial; Welsh ISDT (1961.)

    Racing Film Star (Richard Wyler-1961 Thruxton 500.)

    Motocross (1959.)

    Moto-Cross Grand Prix (1964.)

    Housewife Motorcycle Ace #1; Rene Bennett (1965.)

    Housewife Motorcycle Ace #2 Rene Bennett-Out takes/extra footage from previous film. (1965.)

    Scramblers National (1963.)

    War Of Roses On Two Wheels (1961.)

    Motocross Grand Prix (1961.)

    Scott Motorcycle Trials (1920.)

    Grand National At Ilkley, Yorkshire (1930.)

    Motorcyclists Airborne (1959.)

    British Motocross Victory (1957.)

    Motorcycle Scramble (1952.)

    Motor News; Hawkstone International (1959.)

    Britain Wins Motocross (1964.)

    Wessex Scramble (1963.)

    Moto-Cross Grand Prix; Hawkstone Park (1965.)

    Rough Riders bump For Cup (1959.)

    Motocross Spectacular (1965.)

    International Motocross (1958.)

    Motocross At Norg, Holland (1959.)

    British Experts Trial (1932.)

    Boy Motorcyclist (1960.)

    Big Win For British Riders; Scott Ellis (1961.)

    Britains Cycles On Show (1954.)

    Motorcycle School (1958.)

    Horizontal Flyer Attacks World Speed Record; plus Wooler 'Beam Engine' Bike On Test (1949.)

    Invalid Tricycle Association Rally (1960.)

    Scrambling Kids (1962.)

    Sidecar Boat (1960.)

    Wall of Death Girl (1949.)

    Wall of Death Girl (1963.)

    News Flashes; French MX GP (1958.)
    Last edited by Brian Thompson; 18/02/2015, 02:28 PM. Reason: Slight edit to 'viewing instructions' due to updated website.

  • #2
    Well done Brian.

    Another great example of what forums (fora?) are for.

    Colin Sparrow


    • #3
      Thank you Colin, my pleasure.

      I believe that these wonderful films should be shared and seen by as many Greeves enthusiasts as possible, and that this is by far the best way to do it.

      Thanks once again to Rob and Ian for making it possible by giving us this fantastic resource to use.



      • #4
        New Films Added!

        I've added some new films to my original post (the last six items.)

        These are of more general 'classic bike interest' than 'Greeves related' as such, although the Invalid carriage Rally is quite interesting from 'our' point of view.

        Hope everyone enjoys them anyway. In the meantime, I'll be sure and keep digging!



        • #5
          British Pathe News

          Hello Brian,

          I am enjoying the Pathe films and wonder if the television archives departments have saved any of the Sunday afternoon broadcasts from the 1960's. A long shot but might be worth investigating sometime in the future.


          • #6
            Hi Maurice,

            Delighted you're enjoying the film clips, they're a treat aren't they!

            Must say I'm not familiar with the Sunday afternoon broadcasts that you mention, probably as I was only a bab then myself (born in 1960!)

            However, if you or anyone else is aware of where further footage of 'Greeves' interest might be found let's get the word out and get people looking I say! What were the programmes called? Which TV company produced them? Did 'Thames', 'ATV', 'Anglia' etc. (as they used to be called then!) ever produce anything that anyone remembers? Something like this is an ideal thing to use the forum for I reckon! Any thoughts anyone? What is out there waiting to be found I wonder......

            I recall hearing something a few years ago about a fair bit of the BBC Film Archives
            being lost due to film stocks deteriorating and become unstable over time, or something like that anyway (maybe even a fire risk!)

            I've often wondered if this what became of the BBC Saturday afternoon Scrambles footage, for example, as I would have thought by now somebody would have realised the commercial potential and released them on DVD perhaps. (Yes please!)

            Thanks for the post Maurice.



            • #7
              Rene Bennett film(s) added to orginal post.

              Hi everyone,

              Since Maurices' last post I've had another quick trawl through the British Pathe Archives and wanted to mention that I've discovered a wonderful film about Rene Bennett! It's called 'Housewife Motorcycle Ace' (1965) and contains lots of excellent Greeves footage, in colour too!

              There is an additional (silent) film containing further 'outake' footage from this film, which also has an item on a chap with a pet bear (partly filmed in a pub..!!!) I've added both films to my original post so check 'em out!

              At least it proves there is more Greeves related footage out there still waiting to be discovered!

              Hope you all enjoy them.



              • #8
                Another great find, Brian!

                Aren't the producers and scriptwriters priceless though?

                A Tiger Cub as a "ton-up monster"

                Two-strokes that sound like fourstrokes and vice versa.

                Closed little world we motorcyclists inhabit...

                Colin Sparrow


                • #9
                  It is a little gem that one isn't it! Finding these clips is so dependant on what you type into the search bar too, as I've said before. For example, this one came out of looking for 'men and motorcycles'....!!! (Go figure!)

                  I quite agree on the 'production/script' comments! My, how times have changed eh. I found a fantastic period clip about the Burns guitar factory in London that followed the construction method through from start to finish, and right at the end there's a comment about the guitar being tuned 'just like a real musical instrument'.....!!!! Priceless indeed! I think this gives the clips so much of their charm though, and shows how things were back in the day. Today's Health and Safety lobby would have a field day with some of those clips, for example....!!!

                  Also agree on the 'dubbing' thing too, and it still goes on today! Why, for example, does the 4-stroke Montesa that James Bond (Daniel Craig) rides in a scene from the latest film ('Quantum Of Solace') SOUND LIKE A 2-STROKE???!!!! Dave Bickers would never have stood for that if he'd been on set I reckon! (Movie trivia note; did you know that was the very same bike used in a scene from the last 'Bourne Identity' film too? Cutbacks are everywhere it seems-no wonder the poor thing looked so hammered!)

                  On the tiger cub 'ton-up monster' quote (!), I once heard of someone putting a nitous-oxide injection kit on an ancient Beesa C15....Apparently it made about 300 bhp on full boost.....for about five seconds!!! Then it just welded the piston to the barrel.....! Drag racers eh!

                  Speaking of which, I must ask Rob if he's got a lovely hat like Rene wears in the film stashed away in his wardrobe somewhere...tee hee! Just the thing for next year's Talmag, or even the DR Memorial trial! I'm sure DR would have a good laugh at that! Wonder if he's got a spare one for me to borrow as well come to think of it...!



                  • #10
                    Thanks Brian

                    Last edited by Brian Thompson; 01/04/2010, 01:01 PM.


                    • #11
                      My pleasure Mike, and glad you found them ok.

                      I reckon if/when I post any more films I'll tell everyone exactly where they appear in the list on the original post in future (i.e. 6th, 11th, whatever) to avoid any possible confusion. After all, we're up to 38 clips now so it's easy for any new items to get a bit 'lost' in there!

                      Cheers for deleting those quotes too Mike. I reckon it's tidied the 'thread' up a treat, especially as regards having just the 'main' list now for forum newcomers to see. Nice one! I've also deleted a couple of other 'redundant' posts to help clean up the thread from my end.

                      All the best,



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Brian Thompson View Post
                        It is

                        Speaking of which, I must ask Rob if he's got a lovely hat like Rene wears in the film stashed away in his wardrobe somewhere...tee hee!
                        He's bound to have several in assorted colours - to go with his knickers..?
                        Colin Sparrow


                        • #13
                          Ha ha!! My thoughts exactly mate!

                          If Rob goes for his favourite 'warm cerise' number I guess I'll have to settle for the 'daphne blue' one, unless Dicky baggsies it first that is...!!!

                          (So much for staying on-thread then....! And just after Mike and I had made it all nice and tidy....! Doh! )


                          • #14
                            Thank's Brian

                            You did stike gold a must for anyone who spent the 60s going to and watching scrambles on TV. Dreaming of there first Greeves.
                            John Downer


                            • #15
                              I can't say how delighted I am to see that this thread has received so many views (460 so far, and counting!), and all in only six weeks since we went 'live' too! I really wanted to ensure that everyone had something 'special' to see when we started the forum, and I'm so happy that they are here for everyone to enjoy.

                              It makes all the effort researching the film clips to post on the forum worthwhile; three and a half months, on and off, and trawling through over 900 pages of the BP archive to find them would you believe...(I definitely need to get out more!)

                              Many thanks to the six members who've posted so far, and on behalf of everyone on the forum, it would be just wonderful to hear more members views on these films! With that in mind, here's a few questions to get you thinking;

                              Where any of you actually there at some of those events?
                              What memories (or stories) does seeing them bring back for you?
                              What was it like back then, maybe as a spectator or perhaps you were a rider?
                              Were you (like me!) too young at the time, and if so what do you think of how it was back then compared to the 'modern' scene (boy, things have sure changed a bit haven't they?!)
                              Do you have any favourite clips, and why?
                              Do any of you recognise any of the less well known riders shown in the clips, or maybe the locations or tracks used in the 'club' footage? (i.e. those brilliant Rene Bennett clips-anyone recognise the dealership she was filmed looking around, or the trial she was riding in, for example? Maybe you are in the film!)
                              Do you have any additional information on any of the clips/riders/events to share with everyone?

                              Anyway, please think about posting something chaps (and chapesses!) It would be fantastic to hear your thoughts, whatever they may be! It's easy! Just click on the 'Post Reply' icon under this post, and away you go!

                              Thanks everyone, in anticipation! I'm really looking forward to reading your posts!

                              Last edited by Brian Thompson; 14/05/2010, 06:22 PM.