This film is part of Free

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

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

Non-Fiction 1901 3 mins Silent


Mitchell and Kenyon rarely travelled south of the Wash. This Great Western Railway footage, initially screened in Plymouth, is one of their southernmost surviving works. Taking in the Royal Albert Bridge and several other interesting geographical details, it also catches passing glimpses of railway workers. Note the rising smoke at the end: a train approaching from the parallel track?

The fact that this item was advertised in the press with that 'Beautiful Panorama' title suggests that Mitchell and Kenyon, when circumstances demanded, were quite capable of seeing the commercial value of pictorial subjects, as distinct from their more usual crowds of recognisable faces. It's also possible that the filmmakers felt more comfortable with a more visual subject and formal style than usual when they found themselves so far off their familiar northern turf. Ironically, though, the photography here is not particularly outstanding. The operator seems to be struggling with camera and film-stock limitations when on the move: not always capturing perfectly sharp images, nor framing them with total precision. More absorbing is the film's geographical terrain, which offers evidence of both rural agriculture and small-town light industry. Notice, too, a horse drawn tram passing us as we enter town.