Workers 'dice with death' on top of India Buildings in amazing 1930s footage -

Workers ‘dice with death’ on top of India Buildings in amazing 1930s footage


A video showing construction workers dicing with death on top of the India Buildings in the 1930s has been brought to life.

Originally black and white, the now coloured footage gives viewers a glimpse of the peril workers put themselves in to earn a living.

The clip, filmed in Liverpool in the 1930s shows workmen constructing the India Buildings located on Water Street.

The men can be seen working away without scaffolding or safety equipment as they balance precariously on the edge of the steel building frames.

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In one clip, as the camera pans from left to right, Liverpool’s famous Liver Building, coated in industrial smog, can be seen in the background.

Wearing smart attire and cloth hats, the men carry out their daily duties without a care in the world, not fazed by the potential hazards.

The collection of clips were painstakingly colourised and enhanced with sound by Lee Rymill using specialist software.

Lee, 45, who runs the website www.historyofliverpool.com explained his theory as to why the men seemed un-phased about using safety equipment.

Speaking to the ECHO Lee, a teacher, said: “I’ve looked into this actually and similar buildings like this have been made this way.

“Obviously you’ve got the ones in New York with the famous pictures of guys on steel girders, but there were very few recorded deaths.

“My take on it is if it was that dangerous I don’t think people would do it. If word got out that you were going to fall off a building everyday, I just don’t think people would do it.

“Back then there were that many buildings getting created, there was enough employment around. I don’t think it’s as dangerous as what we perceive. That’s my theory on it.

Construction workers on top of the India Buildings located on Water Street
Construction workers on top of the India Buildings located on Water Street in footage from the 1930s

“I genuinely think it appears more scary because of the world we live in and the health and safety culture we have. That’s my theory on it but I wouldn’t want to do it myself, obviously.”

Lee, from Old Swan pointed out the clothing the men wore at the time of filming, adding: “Throughout the footage everyone is immaculately dressed. There’s not a single person in anything other than a shirt, tie and suit.

“I mean every single person walking along the street or at the top of a building has got a shirt and tie on and it’s astonishing really.

“It kind of reminds me of Peaky Blinders and that look with the cloth caps and stuff.

“I think it was just the expectation, maybe they felt more professional, maybe they felt more secure, who knows.”

The men can be seen working away without scaffolding or safety equipment
The men can be seen working away without scaffolding or safety equipment in the 1930s footage which has been brought to life in colour

Lee, who updates his website as means to help kids with teaching resources and materials said: “It is astonishing and it does show a different world.

“In the background, what you’re looking at effectively is smog, you’re looking at industrial smog. You’ve got to remember, Liverpool still had a lot of industrialisation and factories at that time.

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“Another thing to notice is how dirty all the buildings are because they were never cleaned up until years later. They were dirty from the industrial smoke the whole time.”

The colourisation software used by Lee can recognise elements of a picture and colour them accordingly. He has used period music and art-deco style film titles to enhance the mood.

Anyone wishing to subscribe to Lee’s YouTube channel, can do so here. You can visit the History of Liverpool website by clicking here.





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