Archive film footage of the procession and galley burning in the 1959 Up-Helly-A’ has been put online by British Pathé. It is part of a revamp of the film news producer’s website to include events in Shetland, Orkney and north-east Scotland.
The black and white film, which lasts for just a minute and a half, shows the familiar procession and torches being thrown into the galley and members of the jarl squad going into a hall. It is narrated by a man using the received pronounciation common to such broadcasts.
No-one in the film is identified or interviewed and the voiceover gives the impression that the celebrations date back almost 900 years to the last real invasion of Norsemen. However British Pathé is keen for anyone who recognises themselves or relatives to get in touch. The footage can be seen at www.britishpathe.com
As well as Up-Helly-A’, newly restored footage on the website includes: the Royal family at the Braemar Gathering 1968, the German battleship Hindenburg being raised from the seabed off Scapa Flow in 1924, crew being rescued from the North Carr lightship and 10,000 agricultural workers on demonstration in Aberdeen in 1930.
If you want to get in touch, contact British Pathé by email at firstname.lastname@example.org