This film is part of Free

Launch of the Worthing Lifeboat Coming Ashore

Stunning footage of a lifesaving demonstration

Documentary 1898 1 mins Silent


This extraordinary film shows the public demonstration of the Worthing lifeboat on 6th April 1898. But it's also an exceptional demonstration of what could be achieved with WKL Dickson's unique 68mm film format - as well as of Dickson's skills as a filmmaker. The composition is equal to the best of Victorian photography, with Dickson's camera maintaining perfect focus despite a rare depth of field.

There is just one flaw, the result of Dickson's decision to place the main action in the bottom left corner of the frame. The enormous Biograph camera was impossible to move, and unfortunately the lifeboat crew carry their 'rescued sailor' a little too far up the beach, meaning this key part of the action falls partly out of shot. If you watch closely, you can see the crew responding to Dickson's shouted request to bring the unfortunate man back into the camera’s line of vision.