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  1. ITV Report

Unseen wartime footage of Cambridge University released by college

An image from Malcolm Shaw's film. Photo: Malcolm Shaw and the Master and Fellows of St John’s College, Cambridge.

Previously unseen archive footage showing Cambridge at the start of the Second World War has been released.

Shot by Malcolm Shaw of St John’s College in the early 1940s, the film gives a glimpse into what it was like to study and socialise in the city at the time.

The scenes shown in the film reveal a Cambridge which seems largely unaffected by the war.

But as students wander through the streets on their way to lectures, play rugby and punt along the river, RAF training aircraft circle overhead and college lawns are given over to vegetables as part of the "dig for victory" campaign.

Malcolm Shaw added his commentary to the originally-silent film in 1989.

In it he declares that "the planes were ever-present at this time of the war".

Mr Shaw died in 2003 and the film was given to St John's College to be added to its archive. It has now been made available to the public thanks to a grant from the East of England Research Council.

"What happy days those were and relatively carefree despite the background of a country at war."

– Malcolm Shaw, St John's College, Cambridge.