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Leeds Athletic and Cycling Club Carnival at Headingley (1902)

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Leeds Athletic and Cycling Club Carnival at Headingley (1902)

Athletes and acrobats wow the crowds at the annual Cycling Club carnival.

Non-Fiction 1902 7 mins


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Sporting prowess plays second fiddle to novelty in this exhibition of Leeds showmanship. Speed, excitement and dynamism are captured by the panning camera, which mirrors the movement of the steeplechasers and cyclists zipping around the track. Next up, a variety act: the Mazonda champion barrel-jumpers. Such acts were a hugely popular mainstay of the swelling Edwardian entertainment industry.

This film was commissioned by entertainment entrepreneur Tom Barrasford, who owned several theatres across the UK, including the Tivoli in Leeds, where the Mazonda barrel-jumpers were a regular attraction. Barrasford clearly had a commercial interest in giving the troupe a starring role in this film, which would serve to further promote their regular turn at the Tivoli. The cinematograph was frequently billed during variety theatre programmes and it's more than likely that this film would itself have been shown at the Tivoli. Following this performance at the Cycling Club Carnival the Wigan Examiner reported: "The Mazondas are stated to be champions in their particular line, and exhibit some really marvellous tub jumping, which has the additional merit of being novel."