This film is part of Free
Pure tranquillity in rural Somerset, a world away from the war raging on the continent.
Travelogue 1916 1 mins
Breathtaking views of the famous Gorge transport viewers of this mid-WWI travelogue to a rural idyll apparently untouched by the anguish of war. Intrepid visitors ascend the 275 steps of Jacob's Ladder before clambering up the lookout tower to appreciate the view towards Glastonbury Tor. For the less adventurous, the film also takes in the fine medieval stone cross which marks Cheddar's marketplace, and a gentle stroll along the bottom of the ravine.
The intertitles claim the lookout tower was used to send signals in times of "national danger". As you might expect in this corner of Somerset, though, there is a more colourful explanation. Exploration of the Gorge began in the mid-19th century, with tourists keen to see the newly opened caves. Roland Pavey, a mill owner and local character who built his own show cave to capitalise on this curiosity, put up the original wooden lookout as late as 1900, naming it the 'Mystic Tower'. The current iron replica continues to cater to tourists, rather than defend against invading hordes.
1916 on Film
Shower Baths in the Trenches
Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins
A humble scrub is all it takes to get these French troops in a lather.
Tests from Aeroplanes
Non-Fiction 1916 13 mins Location: Chingford
Developing the lifebelt of the air - or "how the stranglehold demon was exorcised"
Devonshire Hospital Buxton
Non-Fiction 1916 2 mins Location: Buxton
Rheumatic soldiers are treated with the latest in hydrotherapy at the Devonshire Hospital in Buxton, Derbyshire.
In the Interests of Mercy
Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Location: Croydon
Firepower and fancy dress as a captured German field gun is the focus of a parade through Croydon to mark Red Cross Week.
Topical Budget 245-1
Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Location: Kensington and Chelsea
Brass bands, bicycles and marching special constables outside the Albert Hall for a Sunday presentation before Bishop John Taylor-Smith outside the Albert Hall.
Palm Sunday Celebrations
Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Location: Westminster
Palms and fanfare ahead of Easter - a salient event in the Christian calendar is captured with crisp clarity.
The Way to the West
Travelogue 1947 17 mins Location: Cheddar Gorge
Hitchcock went the wrong way! Head south by southwest with this travelogue from Bath to Cornwall.
The Taylor Family Days Out
Home movie 1959 35 mins Location: Mundesley
In 1959, the extended Taylor family head to the Norfolk coast every Sunday for picnics and a lark about.
John Laing & Son Staff Outings 1953
Amateur film 1953 67 mins Location: Llandudno
The builders of some of Britain's biggest landmarks go on a jolly to celebrate the Queen's coronation year.
Where the Cheese Comes From
Travelogue 1926 12 mins Location: Glastonbury
Blessed are the cheesemakers of Somerset in this tour of Cheddar and nearby Glastonbury.
One Summer in Somerset
Travelogue 1968 19 mins Location: Weston-super-Mare
Hitch a ride with a glamorous blonde in a convertible sports car, and take a spin around the seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare and its surroundings.
Travelogue 1930 9 mins Location: Cheddar Gorge
A stencil-coloured journey through gorgeous gorges, picturesque villages and spa town pomp in this West Country travelogue made circa 1930.
Morecambe and Wise - Be Wise Don't Drink and Drive
Public Information Filler 1963 1 mins
Ernie tells Eric to ‘be wise’ and not drive home after their Christmas party
Shiraz: A Romance of India
Historical drama 1928 106 mins
This epic silent film, telling the ravishing, romantic story behind the Taj Mahal, has been newly restored with a sumptuous new score from Anoushka Shankar.
Building the 3rd Orpington Boy Scout Group Headquarters
Amateur film 1965 9 mins Location: Orpington
Follow construction of the new Scout Hall, from breaking ground to the finishing touch - the mounting of a moose head!
National Scoutcar Racing in Brighton
Amateur film 1967 3 mins Location: Brighton
Homemade go-karts of all colours, shapes and sizes can be seen haring along Madeira Drive in Brighton, as Scouts compete for first place.
Cyril Visits Lesney Farm Allotment and Pubs in Erith
Amateur film 1982 2 mins Location: Erith
Two classic masculine pastimes from the 1970s - allotments and pubs.
Fete at Erith
Amateur film 1979 3 mins Location: Erith
Looking down on Erith fete and across the river to East London.