This film is part of Free

Trafalgar Day in Liverpool (1901)

Huge crowds turn out in Edwardian Liverpool for the annual celebrations marking the victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Non-Fiction 1901 5 mins Silent


Nearly a century after Nelson's famous victory, the British were still celebrating his achievements and by extension the British Navy, which had secured the Empire ever since. Here, a dizzying array of naval officers, cadets, Lascars and crews from the Liverpool-based merchant marine (the Allan Line, Cunard and the Elder Dempster Co.) march past after a stirring speech from the Lord Mayor.

The grand procession, organised by the Liverpool branch of the Navy League, is testimony to an era when Britain's navy was the undisputed ruler of the seas. Some black sailors are visible among the marchers; they are among a handful of black faces appearing across the Mitchell & Kenyon collection of films, at a time long before mass immigration. As everyone gathers in Castle Street for Trafalgar Day at the base of Nelson's Column, with its endless bunting and union jacks, these images capture the sense of pride Liverpool - and Britain - felt for those who had fought for their nation.