This film is part of Free

Coronation Scenes

The streets of Westminster and Camberwell are festooned with bunting and banners in preparation for the Coronation of George VI in this remarkable colour film from A E Ford.

Amateur film 1937 6 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


A E Ford's nostalgic colour film captures Westminster's streets and buildings bedecked with banners, bunting and Union flags as well as a variety of historic tableaux and gaudy statuary. We also see soldiers from India, looking splendid in their turbans, marching past the camera and boarding buses while military bands parade along Whitehall. Amid the London traffic we get a rare glimpse of a blue Air Mail post-box before moving to bunting festooned houses in Camberwell.

The 'Air Mail' pillar box seen briefly from 3 minutes 17 seconds into the film, was of a type introduced by the GPO in 1930. Coloured blue, the boxes were designed specifically for Air Mail letters and cards and were prominently located in tourist areas. By 1936, the GPO had installed 139 of these boxes in London, and a further 174 in the rest of the country. Unfortunately, the GPO found that separate boxes for Air Mail and ordinary post was too expensive and in 1938 the blue 'Air Mail' boxes were phased out, while standard red pillar boxes could now accept all sorts of mail. Today, apart from other examples in museums, an 'Air Mail' pillar box can be seen outside Windsor Castle, but only as a tourist attraction.