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Street Life

Pavements thronging, traffic pressed nose to bumper (or tail) - the Edwardian street buzzed with life.

Much of Edwardian life was lived in densely packed public spaces. The industrial revolution had swollen the populations of Britain's towns and cities, and the evidence was there to be seen - and filmed - on the streets. 'Street scenes' were a staple of early filmmaking, and many of Mitchell and Kenyon's, restored from original negatives, are particularly stunning. They teem with life and historical detail, revealing how our ancestors behaved, dressed and moved in public and how their towns and cities were organised. These streets have a bewildering chaos to them. The full onslaught of the motor car still lies ahead, but in a time before traffic lights, the tide of vehicles never lets up: horse-drawn carts, bicycles, omnibuses and trams (some of them electrified). Miraculously, the pedestrians weaving between them always seem to emerge unscathed. We may never hear the sounds of the city - or smell its smells - but the images alone still have the power to astonish. They evoke a society in rapid change: an urbanised, increasingly mobile, consumer Britain not so very different from our own. Digitisation of this collection was funded by The National Lottery.

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Manchester Street Scenes (1901)
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Manchester Street Scenes (1901)

Non-Fiction19014 minsSilent Location: Manchester

A rare glimpse of early Edwardian Manchester when the horse-drawn tram still reigned supreme.

Sheffield Street Accident (1902)
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Sheffield Street Accident (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent Location: Sheffield

The aftermath of an accident on the streets of Edwardian Sheffield.

Whitehaven Street Scenes (c.1902)
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Whitehaven Street Scenes (c.1902)

Non-Fiction19023 minsSilent Location: Whitehaven

Lively scenes in Edwardian Cumbria.

Buxton Skyline (1901)
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Buxton Skyline (1901)

Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Buxton

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

Scenes at Monument Bridge in Hull (1900)
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Scenes at Monument Bridge in Hull (1900)

Non-Fiction19002 minsSilent Location: Kingston upon Hull

A melee of traffic, carts, trams, bicycles and people of all ages squeeze past the camera in Victorian Hull.

Scenes in Hull (1901)
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Scenes in Hull (1901)

Non-Fiction19011 minsSilent Location: Kingston upon Hull

A street scene in Edwardian Hull is dominated by advertising for an event to celebrate returning soldiers from the Boer War.

Liverpool Street Scenes (1901)
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Liverpool Street Scenes (1901)

Non-Fiction19014 minsSilent Location: Liverpool

Traffic and pedestrians - including an early motor car - in Edwardian Liverpool.

Preston Monday Market (1906)
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Preston Monday Market (1906)

Non-Fiction19061 minsSilent Location: Preston

The cheerful hustle and bustle of a crowded market in Edwardian Preston.

Street Scenes in Halifax (1902)
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Street Scenes in Halifax (1902)

Non-Fiction190210 minsSilent Location: Halifax

Many views of busy, bustling Halifax, including a handsome, horse-drawn steam fire engine.

Darwen Street Scenes (1901)
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Darwen Street Scenes (1901)

Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Darwen

Young lads are out in force on the crowded streets in Edwardian Lancashire.

Preston Street Scenes (1904)
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Preston Street Scenes (1904)

Non-Fiction19041 minsSilent Location: Preston

A glimpse of life on the streets of Edwardian Preston.

Proclamation of King Edward VII, Market Place, Accrington (1901)
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Proclamation of King Edward VII, Market Place, Accrington (1901)

Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Accrington

The Edwardian era kicks off with the proclamation of the new King.

Albert Quay in Cork
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Albert Quay in Cork

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent

A visit to Edwardian Cork captures the docks on an unusually quiet Sunday.

Mayor Entering His Carriage Near the Town Hall, Halifax (1902)
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Mayor Entering His Carriage Near the Town Hall, Halifax (1902)

Non-Fiction19023 minsSilent Location: Halifax

A richly detailed snapshot of Edwardian street life in the West Yorkshire town.

Comic Pictures in High Street, West Bromwich (1902)
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Comic Pictures in High Street, West Bromwich (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent Location: West Bromwich

Boisterous Edwardian lads jostle for a place in front of the camera in the West Midlands town.

Scenes of Carlisle (1901)
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Scenes of Carlisle (1901)

Non-Fiction19012 minsSilent Location: Carlisle

A well dressed crowd emerges from an unknown building and engages with the camera.

Views of the Grand Parade, Cork (1902)
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Views of the Grand Parade, Cork (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent

Views of St Patrick's Street and Grand Parade in Cork, awash with people and traffic.

Views of Halifax (c.1905)
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Views of Halifax (c.1905)

Non-Fiction19052 minsSilent Location: Halifax

Pedestrians and bus passengers watch a procession through Edwardian Halifax.

Workpeople and Girls on Stoney Street, Nottingham (1900)
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Workpeople and Girls on Stoney Street, Nottingham (1900)

Non-Fiction19002 minsSilent Location: Nottingham

Edwardian laceworkers hasten home at dinner time.

Wexford Railway Station (1902)
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Wexford Railway Station (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent

A flurry of activity at Wexford Railway Station as passengers alight an Edwardian steam train.

Street Scenes in North of England (c.1902)
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Street Scenes in North of England (c.1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent

A mysterious but vivid snapshot of Edwardian life.

Panorama of College Green, Dublin (1902)
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Panorama of College Green, Dublin (1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent

Irish street scenes and landmarks at College Green in Edwardian Dublin.

Scene Outside a Factory (c.1902)
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Scene Outside a Factory (c.1902)

Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent

Men mill around the bustling yard of a large workplace, perhaps a brewery?

Scenes of Ashton under Lyne (1901)
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Scenes of Ashton under Lyne (1901)

Non-Fiction19013 minsSilent Location: Ashton-Under-Lyne

Aspects of the Lancashire market town, with policemen, small girls, dogs and passers-by.