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Grand Tour

The Victorian age witnessed a transport revolution, but even at the end of Victoria's reign, overseas travel was still beyond the reach of many. Films, though, could transport their audiences to distant climes.

Filmmakers followed the indispensable Baedeker guides (the Lonely Planet of its day), presenting their own vicarious 'Grand Tour': from Vienna to Venice, from Niagara to the Nile. And with most people seldom venturing far from their homes, images of Britain's own varied landscape carried a taste of the exotic. One spectacular innovation - the 'phantom ride', filmed from a moving vehicle - gave audiences the sensation of the journey itself.

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Churned WatersChurned Waters

Non-Fiction18991 minsSilent

A hypnotic study of the wake of a ship at sea

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Panorama of the Paris Exhibition No. 3Panorama of the Paris Exhibition No. 3

Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent

An unusual view of Paris, shot from a boat travelling down the Seine. You can even see the Eiffel tower - almost!

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Tram Journey through SouthamptonTram Journey through Southampton

Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent Location: Southampton

A moving tour through lively turn-of-the-century Southampton.

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Railway Ride over the Tay BridgeRailway Ride over the Tay Bridge

Non-Fiction18975 minsSilent Location: Tay Bridge

Stunning train's eye views across the Tay rail bridge from Fife to Dundee

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A Steamship Passes ByA Steamship Passes By

Non-Fiction18991 mins

With energetic waving of handkerchiefs to those on shore, a large steamship heads off

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Phantom Ride - ChamonixPhantom Ride - Chamonix

Non-Fiction19002 minsSilent

Admire the view but don't look down, as this short film takes you on a breathtaking trip through the Alps

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Conway Castle - panoramic view of Conway on the L.& N.W. RailwayConway Castle - panoramic view of Conway on the L.& N.W. Railway

Non-Fiction18982 minsSilent Location: Conwy Castle

Conwy's bridge, castle and station glide past, as if in a dream, in this beautiful phantom train ride film (no ghosts but apparently no train either) from 1898.

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Sea Cave near LisbonSea Cave near Lisbon

18960 minsSilent

Breath-taking view of waves breaking at the mouth of the Boca do Inferno.

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Panorama around the Eiffel TowerPanorama around the Eiffel Tower

Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent

Stand in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and tour the pavilions of Paris's Exposition Universelle of 1900

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Patrick Street, CorkPatrick Street, Cork

Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent

A bustling Victorian street scene taken from Patrick Bridge

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Boys Bathing - VeniceBoys Bathing - Venice

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

An intimate, playful scene of young lads cooling off and larking about in a Venetian backwater

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Opening of the Kiel CanalOpening of the Kiel Canal

Non-Fiction18950 minsSilent

This was one of a series of actuality films made by the Victorian pioneer Birt Acres during 1895. The film is thought to have been shot on June 20, on the occasion of the opening of the Kiel Canal by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Acres shot other films at the same time, but they have not survived.

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Railway TrafficRailway Traffic

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

Watching the trains go by on a summers day at Wood Green Station.

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Panorama of Niagara FallsPanorama of Niagara Falls

Non-Fiction19010 minsSilent

The wonder of Niagara captured in an early film

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Rocky ShoreRocky Shore

Non-Fiction18960 minsSilent

The hypnotic spectacle of waves breaking over rocks

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Queensbury TunnelQueensbury Tunnel

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

Evocative images taken at the mouth of Victorian Britain's longest train tunnel

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Royal TrainRoyal Train

Non-Fiction18960 minsSilent

Detective work reveals… this very early film was shot at Southampton Royal Pier Station. But who’s the VIP on board?

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Fisherman and Boat at Port SaidFisherman and Boat at Port Said

Travelogue18971 minsSilent

Victorian-era quayside scenes filmed in northern Egypt

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Tetherball, Or Do-doTetherball, Or Do-do

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

At sea for weeks on end, Victorian sailors had to find ways to amuse themselves and get a little exercise in too

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The Mount Pilatus RailwayThe Mount Pilatus Railway

Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent

Take a trip on the steepest rack railway in the world, scaling Mount Pilatus in the heart of the Swiss Alps

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Up the RiverUp the River

Drama18961 minsSilent

A river tragedy is narrowly averted in this early dramatic scene

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Railway Traffic on the L.N.W.R.Railway Traffic on the L.N.W.R.

18972 minsSilent Location: Bushey

A wonderfully clear view of Bushey Station in Victorian times

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Ox WagonOx Wagon

Non-Fiction18983 minsSilent

Scene in a bustling South African market town before the Boer War

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Gang Making Railway - South AfricaGang Making Railway - South Africa

Non-Fiction18982 minsSilent

Working conditions in South Africa before the outbreak of the Boer War

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Greasy Pole Game aboard ShipGreasy Pole Game aboard Ship

Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent

High jinks on the high seas: sample Union-Castle Line’s on-board entertainment.

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Comic Scene on Board ShipComic Scene on Board Ship

Comedy18981 minsSilent

A dispute on the ocean waves

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Panorama - Windsor CastlePanorama - Windsor Castle

Non-Fiction18980 minsSilent Location: Windsor Castle

This panorama takes in Windsor and Eton Riverside station, Windsor Castle, and plenty of Victorians at leisure.

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Pleasure Steamers on a RiverPleasure Steamers on a River

Non-Fiction19001 mins

Victorians messing about on the river

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The 'Bluff', DurbanThe 'Bluff', Durban

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

Small yachts sailing off Durban bluff

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Ships Coming to Anchor, South AfricaShips Coming to Anchor, South Africa

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

Enticing amateur snapshot of South Africa before the outbreak of the Boer War.

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Sports on Board ShipSports on Board Ship

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

An improvised deck game to pass the time en voyage

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Adderley Street, Cape TownAdderley Street, Cape Town

Non-Fiction18982 minsSilent

Cape Town's handsome high street just before the outbreak of the Boer War

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Ship at SeaShip at Sea

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

A clever early film that uses the new medium to drag the audience out to sea

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Visit to PompeiiVisit to Pompeii

Travelogue19018 mins

Beautiful panorama of the ruins the of Pompeii, with views of Vesuvius

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Stonehenge - Panorama of the Ancient Druidical RemainsStonehenge - Panorama of the Ancient Druidical Remains

Travelogue19011 minsSilent Location: Stonehenge

Get up close to the ancient British icon - before the coach parties descended.

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Bangor Yacht RaceBangor Yacht Race

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

This amateur film of a sailing event is the first film taken by an Irishman in Ireland

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Beautiful Panorama of Railway Ride from St. German to Milray (1901)Beautiful Panorama of Railway Ride from St. German to Milray (1901)

Non-Fiction19013 minsSilent Location: Plymouth

Views from an Edwardian railway trip, filmed just east of the Devon-Cornwall border and over the Tamar.

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Buxton Skyline (1901)Buxton Skyline (1901)

Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Buxton

A striking panorama of the Peak District town and its magnificent Georgian Crescent.

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Cinematographic View of the Royal Albert Bridge (1901)Cinematographic View of the Royal Albert Bridge (1901)

Non-Fiction19015 minsSilent Location: Royal Albert Bridge

A view of the many sea-going vessels around Saltash and Plymouth.

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Horse-drawn Traffic in Euston RdHorse-drawn Traffic in Euston Rd

18991 minsSilent Location: St Pancras

A close brush with the precursor to the number 73 bus in Victorian London.

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Ride on a Tram Car through Belfast (1901)Ride on a Tram Car through Belfast (1901)

Non-Fiction19014 minsSilent Location: Belfast

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

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Holyhead Mail Boat 1898Holyhead Mail Boat 1898

Non-Fiction18983 minsSilent Location: Holyhead/Caergybi

Captivating early film by the pioneer of Welsh cinema.

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Cunard Mail Steamer Lucania Leaving For America (1901)Cunard Mail Steamer Lucania Leaving For America (1901)

Non-Fiction190116 minsSilent Location: Liverpool

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

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Horse BusesHorse Buses

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

A surprisingly close encounter with late-Victorian traffic, looking down Oxford Street from Marble Arch

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Over the Tay Bridge on an Express Train (1901)Over the Tay Bridge on an Express Train (1901)

Non-Fiction19011 minsSilent Location: Tay Bridge

A journey across the well-known Scottish railway bridge, filmed from the engine front.

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Panorama of Calcutta, India, From the River Ganges.Panorama of Calcutta, India, From the River Ganges.

Non-Fiction18992 minsSilent

One of the earliest films to be shot in India apparently shows the Calcutta ghats - or does it?

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Panoramic View of the Morecambe Sea Front (1901)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.

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Paris Street SceneParis Street Scene

Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent

Welcome to Place de L’Opera: an early filmed snapshot of Paris landmark the Palais Garnier.

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Phantom Railway RidePhantom Railway Ride

Non-Fiction19013 mins

Stunning glimpses of Hong Kong at the dawn of the 20th century through this roller-coaster ride on the vertiginous Peak Tram

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Phantom Ride on the Furness Railway (1901)Phantom Ride on the Furness Railway (1901)

Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent Location: Furness Abbey

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

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Pope Leo XIII in CarriagePope Leo XIII in Carriage

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

The Pope arrives in a carriage and bestows a blessing.

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Pope Leo XIII Walking Before Kneeling GuardsPope Leo XIII Walking Before Kneeling Guards

Non-Fiction18980 minsSilent

A rare early film capturing the man and not just the figurehead

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Thames River Scenery - Panorama of the Crowded RiverThames River Scenery - Panorama of the Crowded River

Non-Fiction18991 minsSilent Location: Henley-on-Thames

Don your straw boater and join Victorians at play as you potter down the river at Henley-on-Thames

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Women Fetching Water from the NileWomen Fetching Water from the Nile

Travelogue18971 minsSilent

A Victorian view of Egypt: exotic and elegantly filmed.

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Rochdale Tram Ride (1905)Rochdale Tram Ride (1905)

Non-Fiction19055 minsSilent Location: Rochdale

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

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S.S. Saxonia in Liverpool (1901)S.S. Saxonia in Liverpool (1901)

Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Liverpool

All ashore! Passengers disembark and crew offload after a long Atlantic crossing.

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Ship Departing from Port (c.1901)Ship Departing from Port (c.1901)

Non-Fiction19011 minsSilent

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

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Shipping on the ThamesShipping on the Thames

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

Filmed by Rotherhithe, this film provides a glimpse into Victorian working life on the Thames.

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View from an Engine Front - BarnstapleView from an Engine Front - Barnstaple

Non-Fiction18982 minsSilent Location: Barnstaple

A 'phantom ride' along a fondly remembered Devon railway, crossing the distinctive Taw Bridge into Barnstaple on the way to Ilfracombe

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Train TunnelTrain Tunnel

Non-Fiction18980 minsSilent

A view out of a railway tunnel, which could have formed part of a longer ‘phantom ride’ film.

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Pope Leo XIII Leaving Carriage and Being Ushered Into GardenPope Leo XIII Leaving Carriage and Being Ushered Into Garden

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

One of a rare and revealing series of films capturing the first moving images of the Pontiff. Here the Pope leaves his carriage and enters a garden, his rheumatism clearly visible, providing insight into Leo's state of health at the time.

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Vatican Guards, RomeVatican Guards, Rome

18981 minsSilent

Exclusive images from within the Papal enclave

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Waves Breaking on a PierWaves Breaking on a Pier

Non-Fiction18961 minsSilent

Intrepid tourists brave the great waves breaking on the marina wall at Brighton

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Washing the SweepWashing the Sweep

Comedy18981 minsSilent

A washerwoman's work is never done - especially when there's a drunken chimney sweep at large...

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Trip to North Wales on the St Elvies (1902)Trip to North Wales on the St Elvies (1902)

Non-Fiction190214 minsSilent Location: Liverpool

A steamship tour along the picturesque coast from Liverpool to the Menai Straits.

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Dignitaries Coming down Gang PlankDignitaries Coming down Gang Plank

Non-Fiction18961 minsSilent

The headgear says it all in this parade of VIPs

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Clyde RegattaClyde Regatta

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

Scenes from the 'Clyde Fortnight'

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Pope Leo XIII Being Seated Bestowing BlessingPope Leo XIII Being Seated Bestowing Blessing

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent

A film first - a Papal blessing for the camera

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Scene on Mr. N. Smit's Ostrich Farm, Impanzi, Natal, South AfricaScene on Mr. N. Smit's Ostrich Farm, Impanzi, Natal, South Africa

Non-Fiction19002 mins

A break from the Boer War as a travelling film camera brings footage of an exotic feeding time back to Britain

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Boat Passengers' SportsBoat Passengers' Sports

Non-Fiction18981 mins

Passengers make their own entertainment at sea with a game that’s a little rougher than shuffleboard.

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Through Miller's Dale (Near Buxton, Derbyshire) Midland RailwayThrough Miller's Dale (Near Buxton, Derbyshire) Midland Railway

Non-Fiction18982 minsSilent

A gorgeous ride through one of the Peak District's most stunning spots

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Railway Track Viewed from TrainRailway Track Viewed from Train

Non-Fiction19000 mins

Where is this unidentified stretch of railway track?

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Wall CollectionWall Collection

19001 minsSilent

This early travelogue is potentially the work of Jasper Redfern.

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Boat Passengers EmbarkingBoat Passengers Embarking

Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent

Mysterious passengers bound for who knows where

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Railway TrafficRailway Traffic

19001 minsSilent

Steam trains pass at speed through Wood Green station on the Great Northern Line