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Thames Sailing Barge ‘Pretoria’, 1964

This Pathé archive film tells the story of Thames Sailing Barge ‘Pretoria’ which became a restaurant on the Thames in the ‘swinging sixties’. It starts with whimsical shots of a fisherman and young women shopping. The story of the Webb family refit of ‘Pretoria’ at Pin Mill on the River Orwell, Suffolk unfolds, followed by her passage to London with celebrities on board. The film closes as the barge restaurant is opened at Embankment.

Created at the beginning of the 20th Century by the Pathé brothers, the newsreel was the world’s first televised news platform. Pioneering the technology and methods of cinema, British Pathé stayed at the forefront of filmed news for decades. Releasing three newsreels a week during that period, British Pathé was the way the people of Britain experienced world events until the advent of television.

By 2016, ‘Pretoria’ had returned to the East Coast and rests in the mud with five other Thames Sailing Barges in the ‘Barge Graveyard’ at Maldon, Essex.