The first piece of film consists of street scenes recorded around 1903. Most of it is simply traffic, but as one watches a second or third time, there are things, too easily missed, that warrant thought. Consider , for example, the horse-drawn omnibuses. Just the number of them is overwhelming. And, in the Victorian Era they often drove without due care, even, from time to time, racing through the London streets. In 1853, the driver of the Chelsea and Islington Omnibus, driving too quickly and trying to overtake another bus from the inside, killed an elderly oyster-stall owner in Mortimer Street. The driver was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six months confinement.
Another interesting thing to look out for is the advertising on the horse-drawn vehicles, particularly the omnibuses. Many of the names are still very familiar more than a hundred years later. There are Liptons, Pears, Nestles, Bovril, and even American products like Kodak and Quaker Oats.
Watch, too, for the faces of people staring at the camera, sometimes with interest and occasionally with suspicion or hostility.
Click here to see the film.
Manchester in the nineteenth century was the key part of the industrial heartland of Great Britain. At the beginning of the century it had a population of 89,000, a nine-fold increase over what it had been at the beginning of the eighteenth century. By the middle of the nineteenth century the population had increased to 400,000 and at the end of that century, Britain's second city had a population of 700,000.
|William Wylde, Manchester from Kersal Moor (1857)|
By the end of the nineteenth century, the city had a vibrant cultural life and the newly created Manchester Ship Canal made Salford, a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, the third busiest port in Britain.
Click here to see life in the centre of Manchester in the year of Queen Victoria's death.
The following piece of film is a general compilation of late Victorian and early Edwardian footage. It is interesting because of the quality which is unusually good. The film includes images of an automobile leaving a garage and scenes of mills and factories. I found the faces of the people quite fascinating with expressions ranging from joy to boredom and distress. It is worth looking at the clothing of the time. Seeing it on people leading their lives gives a much better sense of it than seeing it in museums on dummies or in still images.
Click here to see the footage.
The final footage in this blog is a compilation. Much of the film is drawn from the other pieces to which this blog has linked. The strength of this particular video is that many of the scenes are juxtaposed with modern scenes of the same locations. There are also maps which indicate where in London the filming took place. While you may find the sound intrusive, it is worth listening to it if only to hear the first recording ever made of Big Ben from 16 July 1890.
Click here for the more detailed film.