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Moving image pioneer Louis Le Prince remembered
Louis Le Prince
Louis Le Prince - image courtesy of The Photographic Journal

You may not be aware but the godfather of the moving image lived and worked in Leeds.

Or the claim that he was the victim of industrial espionage and was possibly even murdered because of his work.

Louis Le Prince recorded the first moving images in Leeds at Roundhay Park and on Leeds Bridge in 1888.

An English Heritage blue plaque can be found on the bridge honouring the historic moment.

Louis Le Prince was born in Metz, France on 28 August 1842 and moved to Leeds in 1866 to work for John Whitley Partners of Hunslet Brass Founders.

In 1869 he married Elizabeth Whitley John's sister - a talented artist. The pair founded Leeds Technical School of Art.

Le Prince's revolutionary 16 lens camera
Le Prince's revolutionary 16 lens camera

Louis Le Prince created his 16 lens camera, which was used to record the world's first moving images, at 160 Woodhouse Lane (a site now owned by the University of Leeds).

His first film was created in 1888 called "Roundhay Garden Scene" and his second and more famous "Leeds Bridge Scene" came in the same year.

Just two years after making his revolutionary recordings, Le Prince mysteriously vanished after boarding a train in Dijon, France. His body and luggage were never found and the case remained unsolved.

Now a new exhibition at Leeds Industrial Museum will commemorate 120 years since his unexplained disappearance by celebrating the genius and legacy of Leeds' adopted son by holding a series of events.

Visitors will have a chance to see how a replica of his revolutionary camera worked, watch the world's first moving images in the mills' cinema and learn about his disappearance.

A still image from Le Prince's film of Leeds Bridge
A still image from Le Prince's film of Leeds Bridge

A workshop will look at the key theories surrounding Le Prince's disappearance and help visitors decide which one is most likely to be true. Children will get the chance to do some detective activities like code breaking and finger printing.

Several theories explaining Le Prince's disappearance have been proposed including claims he was murdered so he could not claim patents on his groundbreaking 16 lens camera, a close relative was involved in his disappearance to gain a large inheritance and his family ordered him to disappear due to financial irregularities.

The events take place at Leeds Industrial Museum, Armley Mills, Canal Road in Armley from Tuesday 17 August to Thursday 19 August 2010. details of all the events and workshops can be found on the museum's website.


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