You will find answers here to many of the questions we get asked most often. Please check here first before sending a question in.

Finding & Watching Films

  • You can type keywords into the search bar at the top of each page, then use the filters on the results page to hone your results. To view the entire collection, hit the search icon while the search bar is empty.

    Our clip descriptions and keywords are often based on the notes written by the cameramen and news editors at the time they were filmed. This information wasn't always accurate and some details are missing, so do try alternative spelling and be as vague in your search terms as you dare.

  • Our entire archive is viewable on our website, so there aren't any dusty film cans hidden away somewhere that we've yet to get to. If it's not on the site, it has either been lost or was never part of our archive.

  • What you're viewing on the website are the complete videos. They do tend to be rather short since they were news items - so they're similar in length to the news bulletins you might see on TV today.

    The same goes for sports matches. Because the coverage was destined for short newsreels and film stock was expensive, British Pathé never filmed games in their entirety. Cameramen tried to anticipate when something interesting was going to happen - it does mean we missed a lot of good goals.

  • We do! All unused material is also viewable on our site, so you'll see them in search results or in a particular film's Related Videos.

  • First, please check the year of the film's release. If it's from the 1890s to the early 1930s, it may well not have sound. This isn't a mistake - it's just that sound film wasn't invented until 1927, and British Pathé took a few years to catch up! Also note that unedited or unused material may well not have sound as the music and commentaries were always intended to be added later.

  • If a film does not play, or if the wrong film plays, or if there are any other technical issues, do report it using the "Report a Problem" button beneath the video player and we'll do what we can to fix it.

Cataloguing Queries

  • Our clip descriptions are often based on the notes written by the cameramen and editors at the time the clips they were filmed. This information wasn't always accurate and some details are missing. Due to the sheer number of films in our collection, we can't always correct these errors with the speed we'd like. If it's a particularly bad error, please report it using the "Report a Problem" button beneath the video player.

  • Unfortunately, all of the information we have is viewable on the site and our staff won't be able to give you anything extra.

  • British Pathé today is a commercial licensing company and does not have curators in the traditional sense. Unfortunately, we won't be able to help with queries like this.

  • That's an internal reference for our staff. If you need to refer us to a specific film, please use the Film ID number instead - or send us a link.

  • That's the point at which an individual film begins and ends on a tape of multiple films. The duration of the film is the difference between the Time In and the Time Out.

  • Don't worry about that - it's really for use by British Pathé staff. It's simply a way for us to know which film reel a particular clip is taken from.

Using the site

  • You’ll need to register to create Workspaces or to purchase downloads. It’s free of charge and easy to do. Just click here and enter your chosen username and password. If you’re a media professional you may be entitled to further user permissions such as screener downloads, but you'll need to contact us via this form to request a free account upgrade.
  • They’re basically collections of films or still images. Some sites refer to such features as "lightboxes". You can either create your own or explore ones created by British Pathé staff. Many popular topics and themes already have ready-made Workspaces, so these are often the best places to start when conducting archive research. They will appear in your search results at the top of the page. We've also grouper workspaces together into larger themed Collections.

    You can only create Workspaces if you are a registered user. All your Workspaces are stored under “My Workspaces”, a link which can be found in the top right-hand corner of the site. That’s also where you can delete or edit your Workspaces (including reordering the clips or adding your own notes).


  • Hover over the user icon in the top right-hand corner to view a dropdown of available pages. You can edit your details by clicking "My Profile" on the dropdown. You can also change your password on the "My Profile" page.

  • Your rights and our obligations are set out here.

Buying Films for Personal Use

  • Any film that’s available to buy (that’s nearly all of them) has a “License this Film” option in blue to the right of the video player. Click that, then go to your Basket where you can enter your card details and purchase a copy. Please read the information in your Basket as it provides important details about your purchase (for example, the resolution of the film). Note that purchased films come as downloads and not on DVD and will be the same length as the versions viewable online.

    If you’ve lost your film, you can always download it again from your account. Just log in, then click “My Orders” in the top right-hand corner of the site.

  • If there’s a problem with a film, we’ll always provide a replacement or a refund, but please be aware that we cannot offer refunds if the film was delivered as advertised. All information about the film’s resolution, file type and length can be found in the Basket section.

  • These are only available to customers licensing content for professional use and there are substantial licensing and technical costs associated with such use.

  • Currently, members of the public cannot buy stills via our website. However, if you are interested in purchasing one, please email us at

  • If you have purchased a personal use licence, unfortunately not. All such purchased downloads are purely for home viewing and don’t come with rights to use them in any other way. If that’s what you intend to do, please browse the rights packages available to find the most appropriate option, or contact us prior to purchasing at

  • Sadly, we’re not able to offer films or stills free of charge. With a collection of 220,000 films featuring millions of people, we get many such requests and with the expense involved in producing and holding such files, it simply isn’t possible for us to give them away.


  • Under UK copyright law, which is respected by international agreements, British Pathé’s films and still images are not yet in the public domain. That means you will need to pay a licence fee in order to make use of our material in any commercial or non-commercial projects. If you want to display footage publicly, broadcast it, distribute it, sell it, place it online, use it in lessons or presentations, or anything else, you will require a licence. You can request a quote via our Contact page.
  • Prices depend on the platform (tv, online, DVD, etc), territories (single country, world, etc), licence period (5 years, 10 years, etc) and how much footage you want to use.

    Please contact us with this information for a bespoke quote.

    Certain licences are sold online via our website. It’s quicker than licensing via email or over the phone, and it often works out cheaper too! (It will usually be cheaper to buy online if you are purchasing the rights to only one video.) Go to a film you find interesting and click “License Film” to begin the process.

  • We get many requests for free or discounted footage and unfortunately, we’re not able to fulfil such requests. A licence is still required for non-commercial use.

  • Certain licences are sold online via our website. It’s quicker than licensing via email or over the phone, and it often works out cheaper too! (It will usually be cheaper to buy online if you are purchasing the rights to only one video.) Go to a film you find interesting and click “License Film” to begin the process.

    Other licences can only be purchase offline via our team.

    Prices depend on the platform (tv, online, DVD, etc), territories (single country, world, etc), licence period (5 years, 10 years, etc) and how much footage you want to use. We’ll quote you for your project per second of footage used. If you’re not sure exactly how much you’ll be using, we can provide you with screeners to use in your offline edit.

    Alternatively, you can go straight for high resolution material by paying for a licence (do note that this is non-refundable). You pay for a certain amount up-front (there’ll be a minimum number of seconds depending on the licence) and then, once your edit is complete, you can tell us if you used any extra seconds and pay for them then.

    Do note that you’re not limited in the number of films you can use. If you license, for example, 60 seconds of footage, you can make up those 60 seconds from bits and pieces of as many different films as you’d like.

    To let us know which films you’d like to license, please provide us with a link to the video on our website or its Film ID number. You can receive films in various formats and, depending on the format and the number of items, the turnaround time will usually be between 3 and 24 working hours after payment has been received.

  • Absolutely! If you work for a production company or you’re an archive researcher, you can register as a media professional on our website. Then contact us to let us know a bit about you and what you’re working on. Once we’ve confirmed your account, you’ll have access to free low resolution downloads.
  • Yes, we offer a free research service for all professional clients. Use our Contact form to provide us with a description of what you’re looking for and we’ll do our best to find something appropriate.

  • Although the archive is largely free of any third party rights requirements, there are cases when clearing those rights may be necessary. It is the responsibility of licensees to identify and clear any third party rights as required for their project, but if you ask a member of our licensing team for any third party rights issues that we’re aware of, we will try to provide some guidance.

  • They are. Head to the "Stills Licensing" section on this page for details.
  • Unfortunately not. As a commercial licensing company, we do charge for the use of our footage. Because we receive no public funding, the entire cost of maintaining the collection is paid for through licensing.

  • We're afraid so. Regardless of whether you already have a copy of one of our films, we still retain the copyright, so you’ll need to get a licence from us to make use of the copy you have.

Use in Education or Schools

  • Unfortunately, we’re not able to offer footage free of charge. As a commercial licensing company rather than a public institution, there is a fee for using British Pathé films. But we do try to take such usage into account when quoting and, if you’re contacting us from a UK school, our subscription service offers great value for money. For more information on that, head to the "Education Subscriptions" section on this page.
  • They have access to the following additional features:

     Unlimited downloads of British Pathé material for use within the classroom.

     Permission to publish films on Secure Learning Platforms.

  • If you’re a UK school, you’re eligible for our subscription service. Costs depend on the number of students in your school (unfortunately, it’s not possible to subscribe for only a certain number of students, departments or years), so have that information to hand when you contact us. Click here to get in touch. Unfortunately, we’re not currently able to offer subscriptions to universities, Higher Education institutions or schools outside of the UK, but you can license films in the normal way. For more information about licensing, visit our Licensing page.

About the Company

  • British Pathé is an archive of newsreels and documentaries. Although we share the same founder, we are not affiliated with the Pathé feature film company and do not make movies.

  • There isn’t much to see! Our collection is entirely digitised so everything is run by computer and our vaults are kept off-site.

  • We’re a very small company, so job opportunities don’t come up very often. But we’d be happy to keep your CV on file. Do note that we are not affiliated with the Pathé feature film company.

  • Not how our French founder would have done. Over the years, the company’s name has been anglicised and today we would say “PA-thay”.

  • British Pathé represents Reuters' historical collection, which includes more than 130,000 items from Reuters-owned collections Gaumont Graphic (1910-1932), Empire News Bulletin (1926-1930), British Paramount (1931-1957), and Gaumont British (1934-1959), as well as Visnews content from 1957 to the end of 1984. The footage can be viewed on the British Pathé website. British Pathé and Reuters remain separate companies under different ownership.


  • Our films reflect the time in which they were made, as do the original notes made by the cameramen or editors from which the clip descriptions are often derived. The language can indeed be offensive to modern viewers, but we do not censor the content – they are a part of the historical record. However, if you have any specific concerns, let us know by using the "Report a Problem" button beneath the video player.

Didn't find your question?

  • If we haven’t answered your question, don’t hesitate to ask us via this form.
All rights reserved. Use of footage from this site requires a licence.

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