This film is part of Free
A dramatic rescue from a burning building by heroic firemen is one of our most important films
Drama 1901 5 mins Silent
James Williamson's early fire drama is not only a magnificent telling of a traditional fire rescue narrative familiar from magic lantern sets and the popular illustrate press. It is also one of the most important milestones in the development of film language. Watch how the policemen, who first spots the fire, runs from one position outside the burning house into another location outside the fire station. This construction of 'film space' is entirely unremarkable today, but this kind matching action was completely unheard of in 1901. It's a genuine first.
Inventing Film Language
The Kiss in the Tunnel
Comedy 1899 2 mins Silent
A snatched kiss in a railway tunnel, played by real-life married couple GA Smith and Laura Bayley
As Seen through a Telescope
Comedy 1900 1 mins Silent
A peeping Tom gets a shocking glimpse of stocking in this early take on film voyeurism.
Countryman and the Cinematograph
Comedy 1901 0 mins Silent
A country yokel gets a shock in an early example of a 'film within a film'.
Spiders on a Web
1900 0 mins Silent
Dare you watch this footage of larger-than-life spiders - one of the earliest nature films of its type?
The Haunted Curiosity Shop
Fantasy 1901 2 mins
The strange objects in this shop are brought uncannily to life thanks to a series of early camera tricks
Comic Faces - Old Man Drinking a Glass of Beer
Comedy 1897 1 mins Silent
How many faces can one man pull while drinking one glass of beer? Far more than you might think
Hovis: Boy on the Bike
Advert 1974 1 mins Location: Shaftesbury
A classic slice of British advertising history, though that hill's not as Northern as it looks...
Workforce of Parkgate Iron and Steel Co., Rotherham (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 3 mins Silent Location: Rotherham
Edwardian workers react to the camera at one of Rotherham's major employers.
Workforce of Ormerod's Mill, Great Moor Street, Bolton (1900)
Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins Silent Location: Great Moor St, Bolton
Eager youngsters burst out of the gates of a Victorian cotton mill.
The Henley Regatta
Sport 1901 1 mins Silent Location: Henley-on-Thames
It's the first weekend of July 1901, and high society are on the Thames
Advert 1898 1 mins Silent Location: St Pancras
An unusual farewell in this charming early film
Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins
The magic of a real solar eclipse filmed by a famous magician