This film is part of Free

Tram Ride into Halifax (1902)

A breathtaking winter journey in the Pennines, from country to town and back again via electric tram.

Non-Fiction 1902 4 mins Silent


An unusually painterly visual sweep (taking landscape rather than people as its subject) distinguishes this particularly special Mitchell and Kenyon film. It proves thought-provoking as well as beautiful: expressing the changes to the face of Britain heralded by tram electrification and later accelerated by the internal combustion engine: the route travelled here is today a busy A-road.

In his celebrated 1934 travelogue An English Journey, author and thinker J.B. Priestley suggested there were "three Englands": the first a peaceful, ageless, pastoral land; the second a gritty, smoky one spawned by the Industrial Revolution; and the third an urban and suburban 20th-century England less rooted and romantic than either - and destined to supplant them both. Tram Ride in Halifax was filmed three decades earlier, yet it somehow encompasses  all of Priestley's Englands, while revealing the crucial role of transport in connecting and transforming them all.