This film is part of Free


York before mass tourism with a bustling railway station and market, plus remarkable and rare film of children playing at the Yorkshire School for the Blind at King's Manor.

Interest film 1920 14 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


A chance to see the famous Shambles in York in 1920 without tourists, but instead with mothers sat on the doorsteps with their babies and boys pulling carts. A busy platform at the railway station has a suspiciously unguarded pram, while the market looks like a real market. Most fascinating though are visually-impaired children playing cricket and skittles, on swings and a large see-saw, reading braille and making wicker baskets at the Yorkshire School for the Blind.

This film was made by the Ideal Film Company which began in 1911, becoming leading filmmakers producing and distributing over a hundred films, many now lost. They specialised in making fictional films of classic works including those of Dickens and Oscar Wilde. Perhaps the company's best known film is The Life Story of David Lloyd George, a 1918 biopic of the British Prime Minister. In 1927 they merged into the British Gaumont Empire. This film appears to be a promotion of York and its architecture; perhaps an early example of a tourist film inspired by the Baedeker guides. York has been filmed many times and has remained largely unchanged, although the area near the Railway Station has altered since the 1920s.