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Sunday Best

Church is the place to meet, see and be seen for these faithful Edwardians.

Of a weekday, Mitchell and Kenyon's cameramen might be occupied filming workers leaving factories or schoolchildren parading. On occasional Sundays, they found themselves with a more sombre subject: the faithful leaving places of worship.

Mitchell and Kenyon's 'church gate' films mirror their 'factory gate' films, filling the frame with faces - though typically shot from a more respectful distance. Elsewhere, they shot footage of parades or processions with a religious flavour, with several featuring the Christian youth movement the Boys Brigade.

The Anglican church was England's most prominent, but Catholicism has a strong presence here, reflecting its strength in M&K's Lancashire backyard and in southern Ireland. Several non-conformist denominations get a look-in too.

These films show us another side of the Edwardian age, revealing how integral Christianity still was to public life. Unlike most factories or schools, churches brought the classes together, so these films offer us a vivid cross-section of society at prayer.

Digitisation of this collection was funded by The National Lottery.

"Much amusement is caused by the exclamation of the audience as one after another appears on the screen and is recognised."

The Herald, 28th July 1900

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Sunday Best

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Exponents of Britain's newest religion don their Sunday best for a parade through Edwardian Manchester.

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The cancellation of Edward VII's coronation can't dull the Lancashire town's celebrations.

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