A GALLERY OF DOCUMENTARY AND SPEECH 78s

 

This recording of an eye-witness of an air battle over the English Channel on 14th July 1940 comes from the BBC. It was pressed by Decca for distribution. How and to whom it was distributed I have been unable to find out. The recording was also issued after World War II by Decca in a documentary album called Prelude to Pearl Harbour.

King Alfonso XIII of Spain was the last monarch of Spain before General Franco assumed power after the Spanish Civil War in 1936. This recording in which King Alfonso addresses the American Republics is a late acoustic one from circa 1924.

General Booth (1829-1912) was the founder of the Salvation Army. Circa November 1906 he recorded 4 titles which were issued by Columbia on cylinder. They were later transferred to disc. This record has two of the titles. Don't Forget and Rope Wanted. The other two titles were Through Jordan & Please Sir, Save Me.

H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught (1850-1942) was the 3rd son and 7th child of Queen Victoria. He was Chairman of the Middlesex Hospital when this recording was made in the mid-1930s. He is appealing for funds to develop the hospital. This record gives a little insight on how health services in the U.K. were financed before the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948.

This record on the Die Braune Platte label dates from circa 1933. Hitler addresses the German Nation.

Sir Alan Cobham used to run an aerial circus, which toured the UK in the years before the war. He was also the inventor of Flight Refueling, a system used by airforces throughout the world today. He made this record in 1926.

A. J. Cook was Secretary of The Miners Federation (the predecessor of the National Union of Miners) at the time of the General Strike in 1926. In the speech on this record he incites the workers of Britain to unite and join in the strike.

This Edison Diamond Disc was issued to Edison dealers in the U.S.A. at Christmas Time 1923. Several members of the Edison factory team speak on this record and on the last few seconds of Side Two Thomas A. Edison himself speaks a few words. This record gives the listener a little insight into the talking machine retail trade in the U.S.A. at that time.

The picture above is of the cardboard cover for the record illustrated below.

This record was used during the last war by the German Navy to train sailors in the use of torpedoes. The record was produced by Telefunken for the German Navy. It is a single-sided 12" record. I'd not come acros a single-sided Telefunken before.

This is a recording of the broadcast that H. M. Queen Elizabeth II gave to the Commonwealth and Empire on 25th December 1956 from Auckland, New Zealand. This record is unusual in that up until this issue Royal Records were on the cheaper B and C series of labels. This was a 10" full-price record (HMV DA 2056).

This radio dramatisation of the life of H. M. Queen Elizabeth II, from her childhood to her coronation as Queen Elizabeth II, was made by the BBC. The Gramophone Co. Ltd. issued it on three auto-coupled 12" 78s in their full-price DB series.

Suzanne Lenglen (1899-1938) became Ladies Champion at Wimbledon in 1919 and held the title until 1926. She opened a Tennis School in Paris in 1936. She recorded this double-sided disc in The Gramophone Company Ltd.'s studios at Hayes, Middlesex on 8th July 1925. It gives a little glimpse into how she played her game.

This record recorded around 1930 portrays The Rt. Hon. J. Ramsay MacDonald M.P., Prime Minister of the National Government in a lighter mood. He is proposing the Immortal Memory at a Burns Supper.

James Maxton was the Scottish Independent Labour Party's MP for a Glasgow constituency in the 1920s. The Scottish Independent Labour Party was far more left-wing than the Labour Party of the day. In this record James Maxton exhorts the people to take over all means of production and distribution in Britain and use them for the benefit of the people.

This record is a recording of the speech broadcast by Marshall Pétain after the fall of France to the Nazi invaders in June 1940. The record was pressed and issued by Pathé-Marconi.

General John J. Pershing was the Commander of the U. S. Army in Europe during the First World War. He left the front at a critical time to record this speech in Paris in March 1918. This is the shortest 10" 78 record I've come across. Pershing speaks for barely half-a-minute. The rest of the space is blank except for the matrix number and Pershing's signature which is engraved in the wax.

Admiral William Sowden Sims was the Commander-in-Chief U. S. Fleet in European Waters from 28/4/17 to 31/3/19. He made this recording entitled The Navy in London in March 1918.

Ellen Terry was a famous actress in Britain during the late Victorian era and the Edwardian era. In 1911 she made five titles for the Victor Talking Machine Co. of the USA. Only one of these was issued by the Gramophone Co. Ltd. in the U.K. The record illustrated was one of the ones not issued in the U.K. Ellen Terry often appeared on stage with Sir Henry Irving.

SIR JOHN GEORGE TOLLEMACHE SINCLAIR, 3rd Bt. was the earliest born person to have made a disc recording. He made titles for Columbia, Gramophone and Typewriter Ltd. and Odeon, all in 1906. His voice is clearly that of an old man (He was 81 when he made this disc). The voice was firm and strong and it is obvious that he was used to speaking in public. On this side he recites The Adieu of Mary Queen of Scots in an English translation of the French work by Beranger. On the other sides he recites 4 short poems by Lord Byron.

Brief biography:

The baronetcy was created in 1786. Sir J. G. T. Sinclair was born on 8th November 1825 in Edinburgh. Lieut.Scots Guards (retired). Married Emma, daughter of William Standish of Duxbury Park, Lancashire & Cockam Hall, Durham. They had one son & two daughters. She died 1889. He was Liberal MP for Caithness from 1870-1885. He owned 78000 acres of land in Caithness. His heir was his grandson, Archibald Henry Macdonald Sinclair, born on 22nd October 1890.

Home: Thurso Castle, Caithness.

Club: Travellers.

Died: 30th September 1912.

These two records mark the end of the Second World War in Europe. The first is a recording of the broadcast that the prime Minister Winston Churchill made to the Nation on the day the war ended, May 8th 1945. The second is a recording of the bells of various churches in Britain ringing out in celebration of peace. The commentary is by Frank Phillips, the BBC's well-known news reader. The churches taking part were: Westminster Abbey, York Minster, Coventry Cathedral, Bath Abbey & St.Mary's, Puddletown.

 

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