Apparently going to the movies isn’t the same as it used to be. In 2014, there are no cartoons before the feature film. And no newsreel. At one time, I guess this sort of stuff was a big deal in the movie-going experience. MovieTone News and other companies would create weekly news updates that would run as short video clips before the main event. Sort of the 1940s version of the current social media / 24 hour news cycle.

British Pathe was the British MovieTone News equivalent, known for first-class reporting and a uniquely entertaining style. Reporting on events from 1896 to 1976, their collection includes footage from around the world of major events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, sport and culture. The archive is particularly strong in its coverage of the First and Second World Wars.

Their collection of 3,500 hours of footage was digitized in 2002 and is now accessible to anyone around the world for free on the British Pathe YouTube channel.

How cool is that?

There are over 85,000 video clips on the channel, ranging from world-altering events to the mundane. Hitler taking office to the world’s tallest man. Which gives you tons of primary resources to use as hook activities and instructional tools.

When you’re finished with the 85,000 clips at British Pathe, you and your kids might want to check out some other newsreel archives: