The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

Choose another collection

On the Move

Britain in the early 20th century was a society in a hurry - and transport was changing fast.

The era of mass transportation launched by the Victorians gathered pace in the Edwardian age, with horse and steam power increasingly giving way to electricity and petrol. Countless horse-drawn coaches, buses and carts, not to mention bicycles and trams (and the very occasional car) find their way into Mitchell and Kenyon's films. But there are also a number in which transport is the star of the show.

Among them is footage of seaports, boats and ocean liners. But the most frequent images, and among the most magical, take us on a journey into the heart of Britain's towns and cities. 'Phantom ride' films like these - shot from the front of a train or tram - were a very popular early film form. Mitchell and Kenyon made a handful of films from trains, but their particular speciality was the urban tram. These films glide us through a living Edwardian city, almost as if we were there.

Digitisation of this collection was funded by The National Lottery.

"A very complete cinematograph picture of the Lytham trams and the views along the route was shown at the Alhambra last night... a most interesting and successful representation."

Blackpool Herald, 12th June 1903

triangle triangle
On the Move

Recommended

View Panorama of the River Avon to Portishead
Panorama of the River Avon to Portishead
Watch for free

Panorama of the River Avon to Portishead 1902

A fine variety of views of the Avon gorge taken from various positions downstream from the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

United Kingdom

View Phantom Ride on the Furness Railway
Phantom Ride on the Furness Railway
Watch for free 1 mins

Phantom Ride on the Furness Railway 1900

A driver's view of the Furness Railway through Furness Abbey Tunnel and Station.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Tram Ride through Sunderland
Tram Ride through Sunderland
Watch for free 2 mins

Tram Ride through Sunderland 1904

The thrill of a ride through central Sunderland to the sea at Roker.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Scenes at Egremont Ferry
Scenes at Egremont Ferry
Watch for free

Scenes at Egremont Ferry 1901

Edwardian tourists and businessmen hurry off the ferry and down the long pier at Egremont on the River Mersey.

United Kingdom

View Cunard Mail Steamer Lucania Leaving For America
Cunard Mail Steamer Lucania Leaving For America
Watch for free 2 mins

Cunard Mail Steamer Lucania Leaving For America 1901

The luxurious RMS Lucania is bound for New York in one of Mitchell & Kenyon's most elaborate and striking films.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Tram Ride into Halifax
Tram Ride into Halifax
Watch for free 3 mins

Tram Ride into Halifax 1902

A breathtaking winter journey in the Pennines, from country to town and back again via electric tram.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Ride on a Tram Car through Belfast
Ride on a Tram Car through Belfast
Watch for free 4 mins

Ride on a Tram Car through Belfast 1901

Downtown Belfast is easily recognisable in these scenes from a tramcar ride in 1901.

4 mins United Kingdom

View Ship Departing from Port
Ship Departing from Port
Watch for free 1 mins

Ship Departing from Port 1901

A large liner draws away from the quay, but where is she headed?

1 mins United Kingdom

View Tram Ride through the City of Sheffield
Tram Ride through the City of Sheffield
Watch for free 4 mins

Tram Ride through the City of Sheffield 1902

An excellent 'phantom ride' through the heart of Edwardian Yorkshire's 'Steel City'.

4 mins United Kingdom

View Tram Rides through Nottingham
Tram Rides through Nottingham
Watch for free 6 mins

Tram Rides through Nottingham 1902

Filmmakers Mitchell and Kenyon conduct an evocative ride through Edwardian Nottingham.

6 mins United Kingdom

View Opening of Accrington Electric Tramways
Opening of Accrington Electric Tramways
Watch for free

Opening of Accrington Electric Tramways 1907

Cheering crowds and much jubilation greet the launch of the Accrington to Oswaldtwistle electric tram service.

United Kingdom

View Snowdrop Ferry at Seacombe
Snowdrop Ferry at Seacombe
Watch for free 1 mins

Snowdrop Ferry at Seacombe 1901

Ferries across the Mersey show Edwardian workers on their daily commute to and from Liverpool.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Panorama of Queenstown Harbour
Panorama of Queenstown Harbour
Watch for free

Panorama of Queenstown Harbour 1902

Edwardian images of County Cork's famous port, filmed from a bobbing boat.

United Kingdom

View Cattle Market in Derry
Cattle Market in Derry
Watch for free

Cattle Market in Derry 1902

Bustling scenes show Edwardian Derry-Londonderry before industrialisation took hold.

United Kingdom

View Rochdale Tram Ride
Rochdale Tram Ride
Watch for free 2 mins

Rochdale Tram Ride 1905

Splendid views of Edwardian Rochdale from the front of a tram after a recent dusting of snow.

2 mins United Kingdom

View North Sea Fisheries, North Shields
North Sea Fisheries, North Shields
Watch for free 1 mins

North Sea Fisheries, North Shields 1901

Girls gut herring on the quay at North Shields while a Showman tries to stir up trouble.

1 mins United Kingdom

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts


Never ask | Ask me later