This film is part of Free

Tetherball, Or Do-do

At sea for weeks on end, Victorian sailors had to find ways to amuse themselves and get a little exercise in too

Non-Fiction 1898 1 mins Silent


Four sailors on board the Carisbrooke Castle indulge their competitive spirit with a game of tetherball. A Victorian version of our modern swingball, it is by far the most practical ball game to play on the deck of a ship - no worries about balls getting lost at sea. The camera is set up at just the right angle for us to follow the game - we can see all four players and who wins each point, plus the crowd watching them on deck.

This film was directed by British film pioneer Robert W. Paul, who made several comedies, trick films and actualities. He was a successful instrument-maker by trade and became the co-inventor of the country's first moving-picture camera in 1896. He built Britain's first film studio in London's Muswell Hill in 1898 and continued to make films there until around 1910, when he turned his focus back to instruments and military technology.