16 September 2016, Mitchell and Kenyon. 

Today I have been given a brief and i have been informed that the rest of the group have been shown some of the films made by film makers from Blackburn that focused on everyday people and everyday life. I decided to watch what I could find about them at home via the Internet and watched You Tube.  In particular a documentary called ‘The lost world of Mitchell and Kenyon’ (BBC one) about how their Nitrate films redefined the history of British film making after their films were found in a blackburn shop, making it the largest collection of early non fiction films in the world. The films consisted of 960 frames a minute and the whole collection amounted to more than a million and a half frames. I also watched ‘Electric Edwardians'(Bfi: National film and television archive) which showed the films that James Kenyon and Sagar Mitchell had made in more detail. How they would film as many people going about their business in everyday life, outside the factorys with children dropping off lunch and the workforce as they are leaving the factory’s and mills. They would capture people and their reactions to being filmed, street scenes with horse drawn carts and electric trams, schools being filmed doing their physical education. I also learned moving pictures were a technological breakthrough of the early 19th century, they were filmed on handcranked cameras and the only information about the films were scratched onto the edge of the tape with a place and a date.


Posters and leaflets would be handed out with slogans such as ‘see yourself as others see you’ and the films would be projected in fairground tents at local fetes and fairs or local town meeting halls as they didn’t have cinemas yet.

It’s amazing to see how much life has changed in just over 100 years and how much our technology and way of life has moved on since the early 1900’s. It was a time when my great great grandparents would have been alive, and i found it wonderful to see something that was so real of a time that I would never get to experience.  I have only ever before read about the early 19th century and had seen old photographs of people from that time but was never really interested. Obviously I have watched likenesses of that time dictated in fictional Television Dramas and Films but i hadn’t really been interested enough to think about the thoughts and reactions that people would have had to technology breakthrough’s. It was just a shame that they hadn’t yet discovered the technology to capture projected sound on the films although I could imagine it would have been pretty noisy in the crowds.


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