King & Harper - War Work

  • Theme - Local Industry
  • Year - 1943
  • Location - Cambridge
  • Filmmaker - Mr William King


During the war years many companies adapted their production lines to war work and the garages and engineering workshops at King and Harper in Cambridge were no exception.These scenes were shot in 1943 at King & Harper Ltd, a garage and filling station on Milton Road. In the carpenter’s workshop, staff are addressed by a man in a corporal’s uniform. This suggests that the employees were being given instructions and encouragement to do their bit for the war effort. Two of the workers in the crowd are Sidney Steward, in a black beret and Arthur (Billie) Wells. Female workers were also employed at King & Harper to help with administration tasks. In the office a clerk is stamping invoices.

Founded in 1900, King & Harper were a highly regarded enterprise by the early 1940’s. The film contains ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage of skilled engineering workers repairing and servicing military vehicle -very different from the elegant cars they had been working with before the war. The mechanics in the garage are kept busy fitting large tyres, fixing engine parts and welding gear boxes. The film features Sidney Steward and a younger mechanic, working together to fit a radiator grill onto an American Army truck. At the petrol pump outside,pertol, attendant Charlie Guyton fills a bus. The army trucks, refuelling alongside him demonstrate how important the company was during the war, maintaining and supplying these heavy vehicles.

William King made a number of quality films about his companies and Cambridge in peace and wartime.The King collectionsare held at the East Anglian Film Archive in Norwich.


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