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Commonwealth Games Edinburgh 1970

Opening ceremony of the IXth Commonwealth Games

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This film features amateur footage from the IXth Commonwealth Games held in Edinburgh in 1970. In the film we see a number of key events from the ceremony, opening with pipe bands marching in front of crowds at the stadium, and the arrival and reception of Prince Philip. There is then Highland dancing, followed by the march past of the attending Commonwealth nations, before an athlete presents a scroll to Prince Philip and doves are released into the air. Various events follow, including a medal being presented to a female athlete. The first race takes place. Scottish athletes, Ian Stewart and Ian John McCafferty, take silver and gold in the 5000 metres. During the closing ceremony, we see the Queen going around stadium in horse drawn carriage before the lyrics of Auld Lang Syne are shown on the scoreboard.

Questions & Activities


  • Which countries are in the Commonwealth?
  • Why are the Armed Forces so prominent in the opening ceremony?
  • How does the 1970 opening ceremony compare to the 2014 opening ceremony?
  • What image did Scotland seem to want to present of itself in 1970? And in 2014?
  • How many medals did Scotland win at the 1970 Commonwealth Games?


Literacy / Citizenship / Modern Studies: On the screen it says "Scotland extends a hand of friendship to all peoples of the Commonwealth." Research which countries are in the Commonwealth. What are the supposed benefits to these countries of being in the Commonwealth? Are there any disavantages?

Literacy / Social Studies / Modern Studies / History: People in the Commonwealth used to have the right to work in Britain. This ended in the 1970s. Look at the contribution that workers from Commonwealth countries have made to modern Britain. What were the main countries that emigrants came from. Research what jobs did they did. Why was the right to work ended? Do you agree with that decision? Debate or create a moving image essay to put your points across.

Literacy / Citizenship / Modern Studies: research how much money was spent on the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Why do people spend so much money on international sporting and cultural events today and is this worthwhile? Debate this point. You should bear in mind the role of international games, and the values the opening ceremony in the clip is trying to promote.

Health and wellbeing / Expressive Arts / Art and Design: List all the sports included in the Commonwealth Games and make a timeline to record when new sports were added. Choose a sport not currently included in the Games and create a campaign for it's inclusion. You could design posters or make a film to show why the event/sport should be included.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-473-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 5514
Date 1970 (Commonwealth Games)
Genre Amateur, Documentary
School Subject Modern Studies, Geography, Social Studies, History, Health and Wellbeing, Expressive Arts, Art and Design, Politics
Subject Matter Literacy, Citizenship, International Education, Sports, Edinburgh
Who David K Thomson (film maker), Prince Philip (guest of honour)
Where Edinburgh
Event Sport, sports and fitness
Attributes Colour, Silent
Clip Length 11:09
Film Length 11:09