• Short Summary

    Post office sorting machine 'ELSIE' in action at Borough, London.

  • Description

    M/S of two postmen and the post office sorting machine, 'ELSIE' (Electronic Letter Sorting Indicator Equipment) in Borough, London. The man seated at the machine is Mr Davis (sp? could be Avis), the operator. The other man, Mr Whitehead, is sorting letters by hand on a trolley; he then carries a batch over to the machine and puts them on it. C/U of the letters then panning shot to show them being carried up by the machine and fed into it. C/U over the operator's shoulder as the letters are fed down into a viewing screen. He is pressing buttons on a keyboard as the letters go through.

    M/S of the 'memory wheels' of the machine slowly turning; a man comes into the shot to adjust one of them. Various M/Ss and C/Us of different parts of the machine and the letters speeding through, along conveyor belts and into pigeonholes where a man takes a pile of them out of the box marked Edinburgh. M/S as he walks to a table, ties them with string and places them in another box.

    The commentator says "Despite the wonders of mechanism, one factor over which the GPO has no control is the human element: and that means us - the people who don't address their letters properly". M/S of Mr E Anderson in the 'Blind Department'. He is sitting at a desk and takes a tube-shaped parcel from a pile of letters which has the address written back to front on it. He takes a mirror and holds the parcel to it to check the address in the reflection, then writes it on the parcel.

    He picks up another letter and holds a magnifying glass to it. We see that the address has been written in tiny handwriting in the top right hand corner right next to the stamp. He writes the address out clearly below. Finally, he takes a letter which is stamped and addressed just to 'J Brown' . He stamps something on the letter - 'To be destroyed' maybe? The commentator says "Hey, that one's mine!"

    Note: there is quite a lot of documentation on file, including diagrams and information sheets on the machine.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Colour pictorials
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:
    01:38:52:00 / 01:40:53:00
    CP 270

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