Old London

Old London Street Scenes
No credits. UK 1903
Print: BFI

“This footage shows a number of scenes shot around central London, taking in locations such as Hyde Park Corner, Parliament Square and Charing Cross Station. We see crowds of people disembarking from a pleasure steamer at Victoria Embankment, pedestrians dodging horse-drawn carriages in Pall Mall, and heavy traffic trotting down the Strand. There are plenty of famous landmarks to spot here, including Big Ben, the National Gallery and the Bank of England, and it is fascinating to see the similarities between the customs of “then” and “now” – the dense traffic (mainly horse-drawn, with the occasional motor car) is highly reminiscent of today’s London rush hour, whilst advertising on public transport is clearly no new phenomenon – in one scene, an advert for Nestlé’s Milk seems to be plastered on every other vehicle.”
Alex Davidson

“Among the earliest actualities filmed by the Lumieres were single street scenes, some well-known street in a major city and they quickly fell into a pattern, ending with a public transportation vehicle pulling into the center of the frame to end the film; even the one showing ended with a rickshaw pulling up. This assortment is a bit different, suggesting that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It’s not a startling insight of the makers of this film. Brief, single-shot actualities were already on their way out and travelogues would become quite elaborate with a few years. Even so, it’s pleasant and early in the process.”
IMDb / boblipton

Lord Mayor’s Show
P: Topical Film Company. UK 1914
Print: BFI

“In November 1914, the newsreel cameras were out in force to catch all the pomp of Lord Mayor’s Show – the centuries-old tradition in which the newly-elected Lord Mayor of London pledges loyalty to the Crown. Vast crowds came out to glimpse Sir Charles Johnston – seen here descending from the majestic state coach – and to support the parading military personnel, shortly off to war in Europe.”
BFI Player

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