This film is part of Free

Thames River Scenery - Panorama of the Crowded River

Don your straw boater and join Victorians at play as you potter down the river at Henley-on-Thames

Non-Fiction 1899 1 mins Silent


Filmed from the front of a steam launch in a late Victorian summer, this film offers a glimpse of our 19th century ancestors enjoying their leisure time. The River Thames is crowded with pleasure boats as we glide under Henley Bridge. Ladies in white lace dresses recline under parasols as gentlemen with impressive moustaches take the oars. But even in this antiquated idyllic scene, advertising hoardings on the riverbank try to persuade the moneyed classes to part with their cash.

The technique of placing the camera on a moving vehicle, here a boat, was one of the most popular film effects in the very early cinema period. The waterside panorama method employed here was particularly popular for travelogues. Cecil Hepworth, who made this film, was convinced at the time that the cinema would prove to be used mostly for news reporting, but said that work such as this "showed some slight perception of scenic value". That makes this almost an early art film.