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The Victorian Street

Some of the most fascinating of early films are those which are content to watch the Victorian world go by. Numerous filmmakers parked their cameras on street corners, outside workplaces or churches, or into sports venues to capture moments of everyday life. 

In their own day, these films held a mirror up to Victorian society. Today, they offer us extraordinary insights into a lost world, more vivid than any still photograph or written account.

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Incoming Tide
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Incoming Tide

Non-Fiction18981 minsSilent Location: Worthing

Worthing waves at us in this mesmerising early film

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.

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.

Feeding the Tigers
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Feeding the Tigers

Interest film18991 minsSilent

A big cat has to perform for its supper in this early actuality film

Beach Scene
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Beach Scene

Non-Fiction18971 minsSilent

A charming image of children paddling on a pebbly beach on a hot summer's day

Beagles
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Beagles

Amateur film18982 minsSilent

A pack of beagles are assembled for a hunt by their trainers and a huntsman

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Street Life
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Street Life

The early filmmakers couldn't take their cameras indoors - the lamps powerful enough to illuminate the scene weren’t yet available. So it's a good thing so much of Victorian society could be seen outside.

Topicals
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Topicals

The distant ancestors of today's TV news, 'topical' films captured news of their day - though typically that meant public events like parades, royal occasions or sporting fixtures rather than, say, politics.

Factory Gates
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Factory Gates

In 1895, at the very dawn of cinema, Louis and Auguste Lumière turned their camera on workers at their Lyon factory. By 1900, Blackburn-based Mitchell & Kenyon, among others, had turned that subject into a genre - even a business model.

Sea Wave Films
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Sea Wave Films

The 'sea wave' genre might be one of the more surprising genres to come out of early film. But for Victorian audiences there was something hypnotic about these compact studies of movement.