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Edwardians at Leisure

A nation unwinds - but keeps its hat firmly on.

For millions of working Britons for much of the Victorian era, leisure time was a distant dream. But by the dawn of the 20th century wages had risen for most. An entire industry sprang up to serve workers with more time on their hands and money in their pockets.

Film was a growing part of that industry. Mitchell and Kenyon were at home in a world of showmen, fetes and fairgrounds, where their films were often shown. Fairgrounds feature in several films, as do carnivals and processions, agricultural shows, seaside resorts and an assortment of wonderfully eccentric local customs, from egg rolling to well dressing.

These enchanting films give a very selective account of the British at play - M&K favoured public events with large potential audiences for their screenings. They show that all classes relished their precious leisure as much as we do today - even if the average Edwardian's idea of relaxation was a little less laid back than ours.

Digitisation of this collection was funded by The National Lottery.

"'Living Pictures' are all the rage this year. The cinematograph meets you at every turn - up-to-date and localised."

Hull Times, 13 October 1900

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Edwardians at Leisure

Recommended

View Lady Godiva Procession in Coventry
Lady Godiva Procession in Coventry
Watch for free 6 mins

Lady Godiva Procession in Coventry 1902

Crowds pay homage to the legendary naked rider during Coventry’s Edwardian coronation celebrations.

6 mins United Kingdom

View Llandudno May Day
Llandudno May Day
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Llandudno May Day 1907

May Day festivities in the North Wales town.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Buxton Well Dressing
Buxton Well Dressing
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Buxton Well Dressing 1904

A lavish bioscope show, maypole dancing and decorated wells in Edwardian Derbyshire.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Leyland May Festival
Leyland May Festival
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Leyland May Festival 1905

A colourful May festival parade in the Lancashire town.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Parade on Morecambe Central Pier
Parade on Morecambe Central Pier
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Parade on Morecambe Central Pier 1902

A formal parade gives way to jollity on the pier in Edwardian Morecambe.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Great Yorkshire Show at Leeds
Great Yorkshire Show at Leeds
Watch for free 8 mins

Great Yorkshire Show at Leeds 1902

The well-dressed Edwardian ladies and gents of the county tour the annual agricultural show.

8 mins United Kingdom

View Whitsuntide Fair at Preston
Whitsuntide Fair at Preston
Watch for free 1 mins

Whitsuntide Fair at Preston 1906

All the fun of the Whitsuntide Fair in Edwardian Preston.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Leeds Crossgates Show
Leeds Crossgates Show
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Leeds Crossgates Show 1904

Cycle racing and horse riding events at the Leeds Crossgates Show.

United Kingdom

View Douglas Harbour Paddle Steamer
Douglas Harbour Paddle Steamer
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Douglas Harbour Paddle Steamer 1902

Welcoming crowds greet the arrival of a steamer to the Isle of Man, seen from a stunning perspective on deck.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Skipton Hospital Procession
Skipton Hospital Procession
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Skipton Hospital Procession 1902

The annual Hospital Procession at Skipton, Yorkshire.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Scenes at Chester on the River Dee
Scenes at Chester on the River Dee
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Scenes at Chester on the River Dee 1901

Messing about in boats on the River Dee - fine frocks and frolics at Chester Regatta.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Blackpool North Pier
Blackpool North Pier
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Blackpool North Pier 1902

Edwardian holidaymakers throng to the attractions at Lancashire's premier seaside resort.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Blackpool Promenade Extension
Blackpool Promenade Extension
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Blackpool Promenade Extension 1905

Edwardian holidaymakers stroll along the seafront as work continues on Blackpool's new promenade.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Hull Fair
Hull Fair
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Hull Fair 1902

The ornate pavilions of cinematographs, boxing booths and menageries at Hull Fair.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Ribble at Preston
Ribble at Preston
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Ribble at Preston 1901

An afternoon's boating in the River Ribble at Edwardian Preston.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Parade on West End Pier Morecambe
Parade on West End Pier Morecambe
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Parade on West End Pier Morecambe 1901

Edwardian visitors promenade in front of the camera on sea-side pier.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Blackburn Plant Growing Competition
Blackburn Plant Growing Competition
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Blackburn Plant Growing Competition 1905

Green-fingered Edwardian youngsters strike it lucky in Blackburn’s Corporation Park.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Preston Egg Rolling
Preston Egg Rolling
Watch for free 2 mins

Preston Egg Rolling 1901

Easter Monday festivities in Avenham Park, Preston.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Waves at Southport
Waves at Southport
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Waves at Southport 1902

Beautiful shots of gentle waves on a shingle beach.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Armley and Wortley Carnival
Armley and Wortley Carnival
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Armley and Wortley Carnival 1904

The carnival comes to Leeds and a new Rose Queen is crowned.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Scenes in Abington Park, Northampton
Scenes in Abington Park, Northampton
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Scenes in Abington Park, Northampton 1902

A camera pan through the park reveals teaming crowds and changing fashions in Edwardian hatwear.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Panorama of Cork Exhibition Grounds
Panorama of Cork Exhibition Grounds
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Panorama of Cork Exhibition Grounds 1902

An overview of the buildings and surrounding landscapes of this ambitious 'world's fair'.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Steamboats at Blackpool North Pier
Steamboats at Blackpool North Pier
Watch for free 5 mins

Steamboats at Blackpool North Pier 1903

Edwardian holidaymakers on pleasure boats Deerhound and Greyhound as they ply the coast off Blackpool.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Scenes by the Stone Jetty, Morecambe
Scenes by the Stone Jetty, Morecambe
Watch for free 2 mins

Scenes by the Stone Jetty, Morecambe 1902

Morecambe's splendid Central Pier features in this lively snapshot of crowds enjoying an Edwardian summer's day at the Lancashire resort.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Rough Sea at Roker
Rough Sea at Roker
Watch for free 1 mins

Rough Sea at Roker 1901

Mesmerising film of sea waves on the north east coast of England.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Leeds Lifeboat Procession
Leeds Lifeboat Procession
Watch for free 10 mins

Leeds Lifeboat Procession 1902

There's a grand turn-out in the streets of Leeds to support the Lifeboat fundraiser.

10 mins United Kingdom

View Leeds Lifeboat Demonstration
Leeds Lifeboat Demonstration
Watch for free

Leeds Lifeboat Demonstration 1902

Some splendid floats - and two lifeboats - parade through the streets of Leeds to raise funds for the lifeboat service.

United Kingdom

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