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Newsreels of the Week – Great Traffic Scenes

London Automated Car Park 1960

57 years ago, the very idea of having your Wolseley 1500, Morris Oxford Series II, Jaguar Mk. II or ‘Audax’ Hillman Minx parked by a robot would have seemed akin to a science fiction film.

The Zidpark, the world's first fully automatic car park, was situated near Southwark Bridge and the idea was that vehicles would be moved mechanically on to a steel berth.

This would automatically lift to a vacant berth – which was fitted with a pair of synchronised conveyors for both sets of wheels - before your Austin Cambridge or Singer Gazelle would be once again moved into position.

Alas, it was in operation for less than 24 hours…

London Underground Car Park 1961

Alternatively, at a weekly rate of just 50/- you too could leave your Morris Minor 1000 Tourer, Wolseley 6/99 or Ford Consul Classic in the new underground car park in Lexington Street, so why not call GERrard 8600 for more details?

Leicester Drive in and Buy

In the early 1960s, a trip to Tesco was often seen as an exciting event, especially if you could have your Renault Dauphine loaded with shopping by a porter sporting a Teddy Boy hair style. Actually, that does sound rather enjoyable.

Bristol Multi-Deck Garage 1961

Just imagine the sheer impact of this multi-storey car park on the Bristolian landscape, from an age when concrete was widely regarded as the material of the future.

The traffic ranges from a Riley One Point Five and a Standard Vanguard Phase II to a Ford Popular 10E – and a real sign of another era – a motorcyclist sans a crash helmet.

London Tube Strike 1962

Ignore the quite relentlessly jocular commentary as the street footage is cinematic gold; Ford 100E Prefect, Austin A40 Farina, Jaguar Mk. IX, Humber Super Snipe, extremely overloaded Ford Zephyr Mk. II Convertible – it is like a vintage copy of Autocar magazine come to life.

M6 Motorway Extension & Dartford Tunnel 1963

2/6d for a private car and 6/- for a lorry to travel under the Thames – daylight robbery!

The western section of the Dartford Tunnel opened in 1963 – it would take another 17 years for an east extension while the bridge would not come into operation until as recently as 1991.

Another reason why I am especially fond of this newsreel is its footage of the great British Motorway Service Station, where the tired and weary Hillman Husky or Vauxhall Victor F-Type.

And who could resist the menu of the ‘Grill & Griddle’ restaurant (HP sauce included in the price)?

The Mersey Tunnel 1964

A sight that will be familiar to many readers from Liverpool; the Mersey Tunnel seven years before the Kingsway extension was opened.

This silent footage demonstrates the tunnels’ recovery vehicle moving a somewhat down at heel Triumph Herald plus some splendid traffic – Mini Pick-Up Truck, Vauxhall Cresta PA, Jaguar Mk.2, Morris Minor 1000 plus a brief but priceless shot of one of the famous Mersey Tunnel Police Land Rovers.   

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