BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Saturday, 13 July, 2002, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Historic 'everyday' films unearthed
Town centre trams at the beginning of the 20th century
Up to 700 films were saved from obscurity
Hundreds of rolls of film capturing "ordinary" life in the UK at the start of the 20th century have been unearthed after 80 years.

Captured by a firm in Lancashire around 1901, they have been described as one of the most important finds in the country's film history over the last 100 years.

Some of the films were due to be shown at Sheffield University on Saturday, where they are being restored to their former glory.

Shown to hundreds of people on big screens at fairgrounds, they provide snapshots of a range of activities including the first electric tram in Accrington.

A crowd of youngsters on a day out
The films "capture an innocence"
Historian Peter Worden found the films in rusted barrels that had not been opened since the 1920s.

He told BBC News 24 the films are a "window on the past that has briefly opened".

Mr Worden, also an optician, said: "Had these films not been saved that window would have stayed shut forever."

He found up to 700 films in the barrels and while many are not in good condition, an operation to restore them to their original quality is underway.

Vanessa Toulmin, of the Sheffield University-based National Fairground Archive, said the films show the people in them did not look further than their local area to have a good time.

An early rugby league match
Efforts are being made to identify these players
"What was interesting for people at the turn of the century was their own city, their own town, their own environment, not scenes of Paris, or London, or America," she said.

"It was the first time people had ever seen themselves on the screen."

Mitchell and Kenyon, a Blackburn-based company, was commissioned to produce the films by travelling fairgrounds, which wanted special events recorded.

'Great War'

Other films show people on a day out on the Mersey, coal miners after their shift had ended and an early rugby league match on a snow-covered pitch.

Ms Toulmin said: "When you see the films of hundreds of schoolchildren...aged eight, nine and 10, you realise that in 10 or 12 years time the Great War would be starting and many of them would never have survived.

"So there's a sadness to them as well because they capture an age, an innocence."


Click here for more from South Yorkshire

Click here to go to Lancashire
See also:

10 Dec 01 | Media reports
25 Aug 99 | Scotland
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes