In some senses, this film is not for the football historian: the A1 Great North road is a cyclist’s route, going through rugby country. The large conurbations and urban industrial centres that gave birth to professional football were in the west of England and Scotland – Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Preston, Blackburn and Bolton.
But this colour film, which dates from August 1939 and quite obviously the work of someone who wanted one last look at his beautiful country before it was ruined by war and the consequences of war, is not to be passed over because of that.
I grew up near the A1. By the 1970s and 1980s, it was a road on which the sun usually forgot to shine. Our cameraman had better luck with the weather. Speaking of luck, of course, you decide: was he lucky to have lived to see England in its pre-War state, or unlucky to have lived to see the coming of World War II? The camera dwells on barrage balloons, on war memorials bearing fresh flowers. Lucky at least, to have afforded a motor car and Kodacolor movie film at the end of the Great Depression..