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King George VI and his royal consort Queen Elizabeth, 1939/ Photo: UM Archives and Special Collections

U of M Archives releases historical film of 1939 Royal Visit

May 20, 2014 — 

Just in time for the Royal Visit of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, never-before-seen film footage of a much earlier Royal Visit is being made available to the world.

On May 24, 1939, King George VI and his royal consort, Queen Elizabeth visited Winnipeg as part of their Royal Tour of Canada, traveling by train across the nation. They were greeted in Winnipeg by an estimated 100,000 people, including thousands of Americans. And, while staying overnight at Government House in Winnipeg, the King made his longest ever radio broadcast to the British Empire.

In 2013, Archives & Special Collections of the University of Manitoba Libraries acquired some material that had belonged to R.A. Storch, a graduate in civil engineering (BCE/27) and a teacher and vice principal at Winnipeg schools including Cecil Rhodes, Earl Grey, King Edward and St. John’s. Storch died on January 14, 1988 at the age of 84. Among his personal effects were the materials that piqued the interest of U of M archivist Shelley Sweeney: more than 250 historical photographs of Winnipeg and a handful of colour and black & white 16mm films.

Two of the films feature the visit of King George VI and his royal consort, Queen Elizabeth, to Winnipeg in 1939, showing people preparing for the Queen and King to drive by, and related festivities. School groups of children are shown, including some from what appear to be Somerset School and Cecil Rhodes School, excitedly waiting to see the Royal Couple.

In honour of the visit of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Archives & Special Collections have put online two of Storch’s films of the 1939 Royal Visit, including one colour film that is more than four minutes in length. In addition, Archives has also created a Vine showing the Royals driving by in their limousine, and will embed the short video on its Facebook page.

“This film had been long forgotten in a warehouse, and it is sheer serendipity to have it surface just in time for the visit of Charles and Camilla,” says Sweeney.


Winnipeg Royal Tour (King George VI and his royal consort, Queen Elizabeth), 1939

Preparations for the visit


For more information, please contact Shelley Sweeney, head, University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, Elizabeth Dafoe Library, University of Manitoba, at: 204-474-6350, or email: Shelley [dot] Sweeney [at] umanitoba [dot] ca



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