This film is part of Free

Birmingham University Procession on Degree Day (1901)

Female graduates and gents sporting spectacular Edwardian whiskers take part in Birmingham’s first Degree Day ceremony.

Non-Fiction 1901 9 mins Silent


The University of Birmingham was the first of the new redbrick universities established in the 1900s. The city’s Victoria Square, renamed 12 days before Queen Victoria’s death, played host to its first Degree Day ceremony in July 1901. Alongside male and female graduates, dignitaries include University Chancellor Joseph Chamberlain. Medical graduates can be seen waving bones at the camera.

The film was shot by Arthur Duncan Thomas, a larger-than life showman given to passing himself off as the American inventor Thomas Edison (for his cheek Thomas was described by British filmmaker Cecil Hepworth as a "loveable rogue"). Thomas used four whole rolls of film, to show in sequence at Birmingham's Curzon Hall. The negatives were retained by Mitchell and Kenyon, who would have been paid to process and print the film.