This film is part of Free

Tram Ride through Sunderland (1904)

The thrill of a ride through central Sunderland to the sea at Roker.

Non-Fiction 1904 3 mins Silent


'Phantom ride' films, shot from a moving vehicle, were an enduringly popular part of the Victorian and Edwardian film repertoire. This wintery journey around Sunderland, though not quite the thrillingly new experience it might have been to its first audiences, survives as a memorial to a city almost totally unrecognisable today. Sunderland's tram system, inaugurated in 1900, closed in 1954.

It's worth watching the film through to its conclusion when the tram arrives at its final stop at the Roker seafront. Clearly invigorated by the sea air, two men (probably Mitchell and Kenyon's showmen collaborators) dance an energetic waltz around the forecourt of the Roker Hotel, before enjoying an impromptu game of 'catch' among the beach-pebbles, waves lapping in the background.