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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.

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Trip to Sunny Vale Gardens at Hipperholme (1901)
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Trip to Sunny Vale Gardens at Hipperholme (1901)

Non-Fiction19017 minsSilent Location: Hipperholme

Summertime laughs and larks at a West Yorkshire pleasure gardens.

Lady Godiva Procession in Coventry (1902)
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Lady Godiva Procession in Coventry (1902)

Non-Fiction19029 minsSilent Location: Coventry

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

Llandudno May Day (1907)
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Llandudno May Day (1907)

Non-Fiction19075 minsSilent Location: Llandudno

May Day festivities in the North Wales town.

Sedgwick's Bioscope Showfront at Pendlebury Wakes (1901)
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Sedgwick's Bioscope Showfront at Pendlebury Wakes (1901)

Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Pendlebury

Outside a fairground cinematograph in Edwardian Lancashire.

Panoramic View of the Morecambe Sea Front (1901)
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Panoramic View of the Morecambe Sea Front (1901)

Non-Fiction19017 minsSilent Location: Morecambe

Crystal-clear views of town, sands, sea, tourists and locals at the Lancashire resort.

Bootle May Day Demonstration and Crowning of the May Queen (1903)
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Bootle May Day Demonstration and Crowning of the May Queen (1903)

Non-Fiction190318 minsSilent Location: Bootle

May Day revellers brave a wet and windy day in Edwardian Merseyside.

Leyland May Festival (1905)
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Leyland May Festival (1905)

Non-Fiction19051 minsSilent Location: Leyland

A colourful May festival parade in the Lancashire town.

Parade on Morecambe Central Pier (1902)
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Parade on Morecambe Central Pier (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent Location: Morecambe

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

Bailey's Royal Buxton Punch and Judy Show in Halifax (1901)
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Bailey's Royal Buxton Punch and Judy Show in Halifax (1901)

Documentary19013 minsSilent Location: Halifax

Classic Victorian Punch and Judy show against a magnificent view of Halifax town.

Great Yorkshire Show at Leeds (1902)
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Great Yorkshire Show at Leeds (1902)

Non-Fiction19027 minsSilent Location: Leeds

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

Whitsuntide Fair at Preston (1906)
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Whitsuntide Fair at Preston (1906)

Non-Fiction19061 minsSilent Location: Preston

All the fun of the Whitsuntide Fair in Edwardian Preston.

Leeds Crossgates Show (1904)
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Leeds Crossgates Show (1904)

Non-Fiction19048 minsSilent Location: Leeds

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

Algie's Circus in Carlisle (1901)
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Algie's Circus in Carlisle (1901)

Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Carlisle

The circus comes to town in wintery Carlisle.

Tynemouth Swimming Gala in the Haven, North Shields (1901)
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Tynemouth Swimming Gala in the Haven, North Shields (1901)

Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Tynemouth

Edwardian crowds enjoy a fancy-dress swimming race.

Douglas Harbour Paddle Steamer (1902)
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Douglas Harbour Paddle Steamer (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent Location: Douglas

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

Sunday Parade in East Park in Hull (1904)
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Sunday Parade in East Park in Hull (1904)

Non-Fiction19047 minsSilent Location: East Park

A grand day out in Edwardian Hull.

Skipton Hospital Procession (1902)
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Skipton Hospital Procession (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent Location: Skipton

The annual Hospital Procession at Skipton, Yorkshire.

Scenes at Chester on the River Dee (1901)
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Scenes at Chester on the River Dee (1901)

Non-Fiction19018 minsSilent Location: Chester

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

Blackpool North Pier (1903)
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Blackpool North Pier (1903)

Non-Fiction19023 minsSilent Location: North Pier

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

Blackpool Promenade Extension (1905)
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Blackpool Promenade Extension (1905)

Non-Fiction19052 minsSilent Location: South Pier

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

Hull Fair (1902)
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Hull Fair (1902)

Non-Fiction19024 minsSilent Location: Kingston upon Hull

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

Ribble at Preston (c.1901)
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Ribble at Preston (c.1901)

Non-Fiction19011 minsSilent Location: Preston

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

Parade on West End Pier Morecambe (1901)
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Parade on West End Pier Morecambe (1901)

Documentary19014 minsSilent Location: Morecambe

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

Blackburn Plant Growing Competition (1905)
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Blackburn Plant Growing Competition (1905)

Non-Fiction19054 minsSilent Location: Blackburn

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

Preston Egg Rolling (c.1901)
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Preston Egg Rolling (c.1901)

Non-Fiction19013 minsSilent Location: Preston

Easter Monday festivities in Avenham Park, Preston.

Waves at Southport (1902)
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Waves at Southport (1902)

Non-Fiction19023 minsSilent Location: Southport

Beautiful shots of gentle waves on a shingle beach.

Armley and Wortley Carnival (1904)
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Armley and Wortley Carnival (1904)

Non-Fiction19043 minsSilent Location: Armley

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

Scenes in Abington Park, Northampton (1902)
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Scenes in Abington Park, Northampton (1902)

Non-Fiction19021 minsSilent Location: Northampton

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

Sunday Promenade of Spectators in West Park, Hull (1902)
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Sunday Promenade of Spectators in West Park, Hull (1902)

Non-Fiction19025 minsSilent Location: West Park

Kingston-upon-Hull residents take the air and feed the birds in their Sunday finery.

Crowd Entering St George's Hall, Bradford (1901)
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Crowd Entering St George's Hall, Bradford (1901)

Non-Fiction19011 minsSilent Location: Saint George's Hall

Bradford boys wait eagerly for the picture show at the famous St George's Hall.

Panorama of Cork Exhibition Grounds (1902)
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Panorama of Cork Exhibition Grounds (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent

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

Preparation of the Cork Exhibition Grounds and Erection of Buildings (1902)
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Preparation of the Cork Exhibition Grounds and Erection of Buildings (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent

A sneak preview of the attractions at the Cork International Exhibition some time before its May 1902 opening.

Arrival of VIPs for Official Opening of Cork Exhibition (1902)
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Arrival of VIPs for Official Opening of Cork Exhibition (1902)

Non-Fiction19021 minsSilent

Horse-drawn carriages deliver dignitaries to the Cork Exhibition.

Panoramic View of Southport Promenade (1902)
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Panoramic View of Southport Promenade (1902)

Non-Fiction19024 minsSilent Location: Southport

All aboard the charabanc for a trip along an Edwardian promenade.

Steamboats at Blackpool North Pier (1903)
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Steamboats at Blackpool North Pier (1903)

Non-Fiction19038 minsSilent Location: North Pier

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

Views of the Trent Bridge Boulevard (1902)
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Views of the Trent Bridge Boulevard (1902)

Documentary19021 minsSilent Location: Nottingham

A sunny Edwardian summer's day, and the Nottingham boulevard is busy with promenaders.

New Brighton, Egremont and Seacombe Promenade (1904)
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New Brighton, Egremont and Seacombe Promenade (1904)

Non-Fiction19045 minsSilent Location: Seacombe

Sedate promenades and visiting dignitaries on Edwardian Merseyside.

Les Montagnes Russes, Blackpool's Latest Attraction (1902)
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Les Montagnes Russes, Blackpool's Latest Attraction (1902)

Non-Fiction19021 minsSilent Location: Blackpool

A sneak peak at Edwardian Blackpool's first rollercoaster.

Scenes by the Stone Jetty, Morecambe (1902)
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Scenes by the Stone Jetty, Morecambe (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent Location: Morecambe

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

Rough Sea at Roker (1901)
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Rough Sea at Roker (1901)

Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Roker

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

Green's Racing Bantams at Preston Whit Fair (1906)
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Green's Racing Bantams at Preston Whit Fair (1906)

Non-Fiction19061 minsSilent Location: Preston

Excited crowds mill around a gorgeous Edwardian carousel where the horses are chickens.

Leeds Lifeboat Procession (1902)
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Leeds Lifeboat Procession (1902)

Non-Fiction190210 minsSilent Location: Leeds

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

Leeds Lifeboat Procession and Sports at Roundhay Park (1902)
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Leeds Lifeboat Procession and Sports at Roundhay Park (1902)

Non-Fiction190119 minsSilent Location: Leeds

Jolly japes and jumping in the lake - it's the water carnival in Leeds on Lifeboat Day.

Leeds Lifeboat Demonstration (1902)
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Leeds Lifeboat Demonstration (1902)

Non-Fiction19028 minsSilent Location: Leeds

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