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Cables Transport of Greenwich 1956

This short 8mm vintage home movie was made in 1956 by a photographer who wanted to feature the company their family owned, Cables Transport in Greenwich.

When I first saw the film I hadn’t realised the connection to the photographer but as I was putting the box the film was in away I saw the photographers name was Miss D Cables and I realised the connection.

I’ve looked online, but I can’t now find any reference to the company, Cables Transport, but I did find another reference to it in a few pictures on flickr by a former lorry driver. Those pictures seem to show lorries which are of later design than the ones in this film, so I assume the company was still running at least a few years later, but doesn’t survive to the present day.

At one part of the film the lorries can be seen entering a gate with the name ‘Broad & Montague’ above them. Interestingly, this seems to also be a transport company of the time because I found another picture on Flickr by the same former lorry driver of a lorry with that name on. Again, I can’t find any reference to that company now – the only Broad & Montague I found was an insurance company in Scotland. I wonder if the two company’s were connected?

Anyway, whatever the back story, I find the short film interesting to watch. As well as the lorries, there are some interesting old cars in the film and I also found it noticable how little traffic there was. Although not of significance historically, I find this post really interesting from a social history point of view.

There is an odd sequence at about 1:40 when a man emerges from a door in seemingly slow motion and then in the next sequence seems to be at slightly high speed. I’ll just point out that this wasn’t an effect I added – the actual film does that although I don’t know why. Possibly it was a clockwork camera and the speed altered slightly with the spring tension?

Update on Cables Transport:

There is an update to the story I posted above. A little while after I posted this film it got shared on twitter and another twitter user called Deborah O’Boyle (@dimplydeb) was able to supply a little more information.

It seems that Cables Transport joined with Broad and Montague to become Cabmont. They were based at the same location shown in the film above and Deborah identified that location as Twycroft Mews which now appears to be a gated housing community. Apparently there were several planning applications between 1984 and 1995 to change the usage from ‘Transport Depot” to housing. The tweet below shows the location and a picture of the current location.

Location shown in film and current location

The company Cabmont meanwhile moved to Erith and became British International until moving again to Southend. The D. Cables who shot the film was called Doreen Cables.

Many thanks to Deborah O’Boyle for finding this additional information.

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A software developer by profession and an amateur photographer by hobby I've been interested in all things photographic since I was a teenager some 40 years ago. Many of my interests centre around vintage film photography and cinematography.

  1. Deborah says:

    85 Blackwall Lane, now Twycross Mews. Cables Montague (Cabmont) moved to Erith. Finally Southend. D Cables probably Doreen Cables. Robert Montague, of Typhook and Intermodal Resources, worked for the family firm.

  2. Robert Montague says:

    My name is Robert Montague and Cables Transport was my father’s business started in 1955. The film would have been taken by Dorothy Cables, the sister of my father’s partner Colin Cables. The “business meeting” film is in St Helens with Robert Heaton and Joe Preistley who with Cables Transport set up a transport network between the north west and London.

    Broad and Montague was my grandfather’s business he set up in 1918 with Ralph Broad and was nationalised in 1948 by the Labour government.My father worked for the nationalised business British Road Services until de-nationalisation in 1954 which allowed Colin Cables and my father to start with two second hand Moseley truck (seen in the film!) they bought to start as Cables Transport as my father was still working for BRS and it became Cables Montague in 1956. Your film was found by my sister simply searching in internet! Thank you very much as we have never seen these and we and our mother Freda Montague greatly enjoyed the film clips

    1. Hi Robert

      Thanks very much for the comment and background information about the film. I’m really glad you enjoyed it, and hopefully you will see that there are some other films taken by Dorothy Cables on the site which you may also find interesting.

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