Robert Paul: Giant of Early Film
The most prolific filmmaker of the pioneer period of British film
The multi-talented Robert Paul (1869-1943) was the first British filmmaker to project film for a paying audience, in 1896. A contemporary of the Lumiere brothers, Paul had been producing film, in partnership with Birt Acres, for his own brand of Kinetoscope viewer since April 1895. Shortly after, he began producing for his Theatrograph and Animatographe machines, enjoying a long run at the Alhambra in Leicester Square. As an engineer, Paul made a number of significant innovations - such as an intermittent mechanism for efficiently projecting film. But he also made key innovations in film language, such as the first two-shot fiction film, Come Along Do! (1898). To cap it all, he was a shrewd businessman, with an instinctive grasp of audience tastes.
Aberdeen University Quarter Centenary CelebrationsAberdeen University Quarter Centenary Celebrations
Non-Fiction190632 minsSilent Location: Aberdeen
Edward VII and Queen Alexandra open new buildings at Marischal College, Aberdeen
The Medium Exposed? Or, A Modern Spiritualistic SeanceThe Medium Exposed? Or, A Modern Spiritualistic Seance
Faking the ability to contact the dead proves to be a big mistake for one Edwardian charlatan.
Trick film19012 minsSilent
A boy asks a magician to entertain his sick sister in this edition of RW Paul’s Sentimental Songs with Animated Illustrations.
Non-Fiction18982 minsSilent Location: Blackwall
The launch of H.M.S Albion, which was marred by the collapse of a gangway which resulted in many spectators drowning.
Fragment of an epic, starring the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
18991 minsSilent Location: Aberdeen
A rambunctious crowd greets the Highlanders in Aberdeen, some more interested in the camera than the soldiers.
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (Unidentified Location)Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (Unidentified Location)
A particularly enigmatic fragment of Jubilee film.
Tom Merry, Lightning Cartoonist, Sketching Kaiser Wilhelm IITom Merry, Lightning Cartoonist, Sketching Kaiser Wilhelm II
Trick film18950 minsSilent
Quick on the draw: Victorian cartoonist Tom Merry does a rapid sketch of Kaiser Wilhelm II
Undressing Extraordinary; Or, The Troubles of a Tired TravellerUndressing Extraordinary; Or, The Troubles of a Tired Traveller
Trick film19012 minsSilent
Entertaining example of early 'special effects'
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee - Paul - St Paul's South - Arrival of Queen's CarriageQueen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee - Paul - St Paul's South - Arrival of Queen's Carriage
Queen Victoria can just be made out under her umbrella in this sequence filmed in St Paul’s Churchyard during her Diamond Jubilee.
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee - Paul - St Paul's South - Indian Escort and QueenQueen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee - Paul - St Paul's South - Indian Escort and Queen
The moment preceding the arrival of the Queen's Carriage
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee - Paul - York Road - Front of ProcessionQueen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee - Paul - York Road - Front of Procession
Carriages full of well-heeled guests continue in Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee procession, filmed for RW Paul.
Victoria's New Media Pioneers
Electrical instrument maker, inventor, photographer, chemist, magic lanternist, magician - these were the men who built British film. Among that first generation of filmmakers, there were a few whose ambition, ingenuity and business acumen lifted them above the rest. And even if today's filmmakers may not always recognise it, they tread in the footsteps of these intrepid pioneers.
Edwardian Britain on Film
Welcome to a lost world. These amazing films, lost for nearly a century, offer something close to time travel - a journey into the Britain of our great grandparents, courtesy of filmmakers Mitchell and Kenyon.
Queen Victoria's long reign famously saw extraordinary advances: in industry, transport, science, culture... But one vital innovation is too often missed: the moving image, the last great invention of the age. Yet film forever changed the way we see the world. And even before the French Lumière brothers presented their first demonstrations in London in 1895, British filmmakers were beginning to make their mark. Now, for the first time, we are making publically available all of the BFI's collections of British films made in the first six years of the medium - from 1895 to 1901.