There's a lot we can learn about early films from producers' and exhibitors' catalogues, in contemporary accounts in newspapers or the trade press, or by examining the original celluloid film. But sometimes, try as we might, the archivists and historians draw a blank. Where and when was this film shot, and who by? Is it British? French? American? Egyptian? What does it mean?
Maybe you can help...
We've collected here some of the earliest films in the BFI's collections (at least they seem to be), which we wish we knew more about. So grab your deerstalker and your magnifying glass, and put your observational skills to the test on this enigmatic assortment. Can you recognise a building, a landscape, a military uniform?
Street Scene in unidentified European city
Few clues to who shot these Victorian scenes on an unknown bridge, and where.
Unidentified Factory Gate Exit in Lancashire (c.1900)
Non-Fiction19001 minsSilent Location: Lancashire
A diverse workforce make their way from the factory, perhaps a Lancashire cotton mill?